CCSD to spend $165 million to get competitive edge in recruiting teachers
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County School District is raising starting teacher pay to $50,115 — a bump of more than $7,000 — along with retention bonuses for other school staff.
The move will cost $165 million, according to CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara. Some of the cost comes directly from CCSD’s operating budget. Additional funding is coming from federal stimulus funds. The raises were negotiated with the Clark County Education Association (CCEA), the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA) and the Teamsters in Southern Nevada.
Employees who are not teachers will get a $4,500 retention bonus, Jara said. Administrators and CCSD police officers will get a $5,000 retention bonus, he said. The bonuses will be paid in two parts, with the first payment coming in September and the second coming in May of 2023. The district has 42,000 employees.
Jara said teachers that are not moving up in their salary schedule will get the $5,000 bonus.
“We are listening. We hear folks … we recognize how difficult this last year was,” CCSD Board of Trustees President Irene Cepeda said.
The last time salaries were raised across the board was 2015, according to Jara.
“This one thing will help, but it’s not the only thing we are planning on doing,” Cepeda said.
“We needed to do something to raise our teacher salary to be competitive,” Jara said. The district has not been fully staffed since 1994, he said.
Kristan Nigro, a kindergarten teacher from Steve Schorr Elementary School and a CCEA member, called the move a step in the right direction. “We are so competitive right now on the western side of the United States,” she said. “That’s a really big deal for educators coming in.” She said inflation and the skyrocketing price of housing make it tough to bring in new teachers.
All the officials made it a point to include students in the announcement of the raises. “They deserve the best,” Nigro said. “And we can bring the best. And I really do feel with what we have right now that that’s going to happen.”
ESEA President Jan Giles thanked officials on behalf of the union’s workers, saying that the bonus would mean they won’t have to pay health insurance renewals out of pocket.
Jara also said a new chief of human resources is starting with CCSD on Wednesday.
The announcement came at a 2 p.m. news conference at Desert Pines High School. Jara said Desert Pines is one of the schools with the most vacancies. The school’s principal, Isaac Stein, is treasurer for Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees and thanked the district for its “epic” decision.
The adjustment in pay comes after the district gave all full-time employees a retention bonus of $1,000. That bonus followed an earlier $1,000 retention bonus paid to full-time employees at the start of the year.
CCSD is dealing with a teacher shortage. In March, Nevada was ranked one of the top states with a teacher shortage. The rising cost of housing and inflation hasn’t made it any easier to attract new teachers to the fifth-largest school district in the country.
With the closure of schools during the pandemic and rising incidents of violence on school campuses, keeping teachers is proving more difficult than ever for the district.
“When you don’t feel safe or you don’t feel valued, you don’t put your whole self in there. Many of us are starting to feel that breaking point,” Karlena Kulseth told 8 News Now during a protest in April.
As the I-Team reported earlier this month, the district is dealing with a high number of teacher and staff absences this school year.