The Clark County School Board approved potentially $13.9 million more in cuts on Thursday, eliminating nearly 315 jobs as it grapples with a $50 million to $60 million deficit that will require even more rounds of cuts.
A total of 272.5 positions and various services will be cut to address part of the fiscal 2018 deficit, saving roughly $7 million to $13.9 million. The board approved $43 million in cuts last month.
Trustee Kevin Child was the sole no in a 5-1 vote. He argued for holding off on the vote for the public to digest the cuts and for Trustee Chris Garvey — the only absent board member — to provide input.
Central administration will lose an additional 44 jobs to cover part of the central office’s portion of pay raises for the district’s administrators — which could recoup $2.4 million to $4.8 million. That’s still not enough to cover the $7.7 million impact of the raises to the central office.
Those jobs — both filled and vacant — range from clerical positions to building engineers and were ranked as cuts that would have the least impact on students.
However, district officials are hopeful that those employees won’t lose jobs in the district, as they may be reassigned through the surplus process.
The cuts came amidst cries from the public to cut from higher offices first.
“The maintenance workers, the custodial staff and even the teachers … these are people who make pennies compared to your higher salaries,” said teacher Chet Miller. “If each one of them took a small cut in their pay, you’d save more jobs than you would know.”
David Frances, parent of a special education student, protested cuts to special education services.
Those include dropping project facilitators and a director for special education in the Student Services Division.
“To me, to cut anything when it comes to an education of any student, never mind special education, is unacceptable,” he said.
A public survey that drew 26,395 responses found that the community most preferred savings to come from closing all schools and buildings over the holidays — a $14 million reduction achieved by cutting seven working days for administrators and some support staff.
The other two top recommendations were changing some 12-month administrator positions to 11 months, saving $3 million, and reducing the work year for all employees by one day for $8 million in savings per day.
The cuts are not enough to cover the deficit — particularly because the district is already eating into services it needs to cut as it’s a quarter of the way into the school year.
The board will likely approve more reductions on Sept. 28.
So far, schools will only be responsible for shaving off $17.4 million from their individual budgets to cover the cost of salary increases for their administrators. The district has also announced it will not lay off teachers.
“What we’ve been working hard on is trying to prevent more cuts to schools,” Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky told the board.
Schools will amend their individual budgets next week to absorb their part of the fiscal impact, which could vary from school to school.
The deficit stems from a number of factors — including lower-than-expected state revenues for special education and full-day kindergarten.
Yet teacher Angie Sullivan questioned why the district did not know of the deficit sooner.
“The people who created this supposed problem, I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt anybody, but they need to take the hit this time,” she said.
Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.
Social media policy
The School Board should adopt a final social media policy on Sept. 28, rules that grew out of growing concern over inappropriate relationships between students and staff.
The policy dictates rules of electronic communication between students and staff. It also requires both employees and volunteers o report any suspected sexual misconduct between students and employees.
Yet the board and community members still remain concerned over the required background checks for unsupervised or regular volunteers — a roughly $60 cost that volunteers would have to pay for.
District officials worry that will deter volunteers from helping out in schools.
“That’s like groceries almost, for the week or gas for the car, or whatever it is,” Board President Deanna Wright said of the cost.