Contract of Clark County Teachers to be Determined in Arbitration
Thursday, November, 5, 2015
The Clark County School District is headed to arbitration with teachers to end the deadlock concerning pay raises and a new contract. The Clark County Education Association represents 18,000 teachers. They announced recently the two sides reached an impasse and had no choice but to use a third party arbitrator to decide whether or not the district can afford millions of dollars in salary increases.
Speculation is it could take months before the arbitrator renders a decision. The union intends to continue negotiations with district officials in an effort to reach a resolution sooner.
Arbitration was used three years ago between the union and the district. The arbitrator at that time OK’d an effort by the district to rescind automatic pay raises for teachers. The year before, a different arbitrator awarded teachers automatic raises, which resulted in the firing of more than 1000 teachers to offset the cost.
Should the arbitrator again agree to the automatic raises that would amount to more than $30 million, the district already has a plan in place to offset the costs, including the delay of maintenance projects in the system’s school buildings. The district intends to highlight the cuts to dissuade the arbitrator from approving the raise.
There is already a teacher shortage and the district has offered an increase that would be applied to new teachers to make teaching in Clark County more competitive.
The union is demanding a $70 million contract package, but was unwilling to comment publicly on its demands. The proposal would require the district to pay for more in retirement contributions and to ensure there are raises for teachers who want additional education. There would also be increases in the amount paid toward healthcare premiums and create a top-out salary amount of $91,000. The top-out amount is currently $72,000.