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Nevada School District Sues to Cut Budgetary Costs

In response to severe imminent budgetary crises which could include cuts of more than $407 Million and elimination of up to 2500 staff positions, the Clark County School District (“CCSD”) filed suit against the local teachers’ union earlier this month. In its lawsuit, the school district petitioned the Eighth Judicial District Court to rule on a proposed increase in employee retirement contributions. Currently, school district employees participate in the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (“PERS”). Purportedly, a 1.125 percent hike in mandatory employee contributions is slated to begin on July 1.

Education%20Budget%20Shortfall.jpgThe suit alleges that district workers must incur the increase instead of an equal pay raise. Alternatively, employees may elect to accept an offsetting salary reduction. School district officials maintain that the collective costs to its employees will total $14 million. Ultimately, they claim, the school district will sustain the loss.

In an apparent effort to clarify the value of this multimillion-dollar figure, the district equated the sum to 200 full-time school district employee slots. Litigation documents further detailed the district’s ongoing negotiations for revised employment contracts with the teachers’ union. If negotiations are successful, the new contracts would become effective with the 2011-2012 academic year. Meanwhile, state legislators are contemplating the legalities of CCSD’s proposed budget cuts.

Ostensibly, the district is seeking declaratory relief in case it is unable to reach a compromise with the teachers’ union. If granted, such relief would constitute a restraining order. The court order would ultimately become moot by the terms of a renegotiated contract or binding arbitration.

To date, the teachers’ union has not filed a formal response to the school district’s claims.

If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, or school employment law, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.