Superintendent Jones uses arbitrator’s decision to push dishonest budget cut claims

Victor Joecks

Yesterday, an arbitrator in the labor dispute between the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association ruled in favor of CCSD.

The unelected, unaccountable arbitrator with offices in Minnesota and Nevada choose CCSD's offer, which will result in teachers no longer receiving the step and education increases they had been receiving since the beginning of the year. Also, teachers will no longer have to pay $30 a month to the Retiree Health Plan.

While the whole situation is another great case study for why the Legislature should eliminate binding arbitration and evergreen clauses, Superintendent Dwight Jones instead used the arbitrator's decision to push false information about CCSD's budget, saying in a statement:

The District is relieved today that the arbitrator chose our contract proposal because it will help us balance our budget, which has been cut by $550 million over the past six years. This decision supports the District's priority to put more teachers back into classrooms.

 Saying that CCSD has cut $550 million over the past six years is factually wrong. This is seen via CCSD's own budget figures

 When previously contacted by NPRI, CCSD provided a spreadsheet showing the "cuts" that supposedly total $596 million. An inspection of the spreadsheet, however, reveals that many of the listed "cuts" are merely decreases in spending increases the district wanted.

What's so self-defeating about these deceptions is that CCSD has already admitted that without changes to NRS 288, Nevada's collective bargaining statute, further Legislative funding increases will only entrench the status quo. That's because if CCSD has additional funding, the unions representing CCSD's teachers, administrators and support staff workers will be able to use collective bargaining to force substantial increases in salaries and benefits.

Instead of explaining to the public how binding arbitration has led to unsustainable increases in spending which can force reductions in other areas even if total spending is increasing, CCSD officials, including Superintendent Jones, are actively advocating for additional funding that the teachers union will have more control of than they will.

This is but one example of why Nevada has gone from spending $430 a student in 1960 to spending $8,865 per pupil in 2009, but hasn't increased student achievement.