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Teacher voices frustration over school district layoffs

Teacher voices frustration over school district layoffs

By Marco Villarreal. CREATED May 17, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Tensions are running high between school district officials and the teachers union. This week, Clark County School District announced more than a thousand positions will be eliminated.

It's a school board meeting no one will forget for quite some time. Teachers packed the CCSD meeting Wednesday night chanting and cheering when administrators were forced to take a short recess.

"Would you say it was necessary to act the way the Union acted yesterday?" asked Action News reporter Marco Villarreal.

"I think it was important that...the board doesn't seem to understand our frustration," says Cindy Johnson.

Unapologetic, this music specialist at May Elementary calls the district's decision to lay off more than a thousand positions an attack on the teachers union.

"We tried to save jobs. We went into bargaining by saying we don't one person to get a pink slip. Don't shake your head no. That is exactly what we said," said trustee Deanna Wright at Wednesday's meeting.

"All of our other bargaining groups, so that's our support staff, our bus drivers, the people that work hard every single day, as well as our administrators, all agreed to pay freezes," added school district spokesperson Amanda Fulkerson.

"For them to say that the teachers are getting raises, I think is not quite truthful," says Cindy Johnson.

She says some teachers are getting step increases for years of experience and for continuing education.

"I think overall our kids are going to be the ones that pay the price today," said trustee Chris Garvey at the meeting.

That's at least one thing both sides can agree on. Class sizes are expected to increase by two to three students.

"With 30-35 kids in a classroom, it's difficult to manage. Even for the best of teachers, it's difficult to manage," says Johnson. "They need different things, and it's hard to provide that for kids when they're crammed in there just shoulder to shoulder."

The board approved the budget Wednesday and will now make it's way to the state.