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Parents protest in support of teachers outside CCSD office

Updated September 19, 2023 - 4:10 pm

About 20 parents held a protest Tuesday outside a Clark County School District office to push for teacher raises.

One of the event organizers, Jaime Brousse — a west Henderson parent who has children in kindergarten and third grades — organized the parent rally with a friend.

“We’re just here to show support for our teachers,” she said.

Last week, the district declared an impasse in collective bargaining with the Clark County Education Association after 11 negotiation sessions since late March. The matter now heads to arbitration.

Brousse said what spurred her to organize a protest was news of the impasse, calling it “so disappointing,” especially when Democrat and Republican state legislators were on the same page in allocating additional funding for education.

The district said in a statement Tuesday: “We appreciate parents sharing their perspectives with us. The District supports our educators getting the raises they deserve and proposed a $634 million increase in compensation (not including SB 231 funds to be negotiated later) that includes correcting inequities in the salary schedule for thousands of licensed professionals.”

The district said it declared an impasse “to move the process forward” and the arbitration process “will proceed according to Nevada law.”

A couple of attendees brought their young children, who sat in a stroller and wagon, to the rally at the district’s administrative center on West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas.

Parents chanted things like, “Jara has a failing grade. Send him back to Miami-Dade.” Cars honked as they drove by and protesters cheered.

Some protesters were holding signs with CCEA bargaining demands and others had homemade ones with phrases such as “pay our teachers” and “This Barbie wants CCSD to give our teachers fair pay.”

Brousse — who was holding a sign that read, “We want happy teachers” — said she wishes Superintendent Jesus Jara would at least meet teachers halfway. She said the district can’t compete with charter schools and other states.

She said she loves the neighborhood school her children attend.

Jamie Bunnell, who lives in the north valley and has a child in fourth grade, said teachers are professionals who need to be paid better.

“Our teachers need our support,” she said.

Teachers have enough stress on their plate without having two or three jobs to pay their bills, she said.

The situation affects everyone, whether they have children in school or not, she said, because all people benefit from a well-educated society.

Bunnell, a nurse by profession, said she can’t imagine having a room with 35 patients to take care of.

She said the impact teachers make was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said about investing in teachers: “This should be a no-brainer.”

Bunnell also said there’s “a lot of responsibility that falls on teachers’ shoulders.” She said she wants teachers to know that parents have their back.

Bunnell said that as she talks with other parents, there’s a real fear about “Do we stay here?” — including whether to move — and about whether their children are getting the best education.

She said parents are already seeing the effects this school year of the lack of a teacher contract, including a lot of clubs that aren’t being offered and more substitute teachers rather than “consistent teachers.”

CCEA President Marie Neisess joined the parents during the protest, but she said the event wasn’t organized by the union.

She said she’s excited to see that the message is getting out to the community and that there’s parental support.

Educators are so frustrated by the disrespect and toxic work environment they deal with every day, as well as more work such as new curriculum getting piled on, Neisess said.

“Our educators are burned out,” she said.

When their pay is not determined, it adds more stress, Neisess said, noting it’s unacceptable.

After an event Tuesday at a school in Las Vegas, Gov. Joe Lombardo told reporters that it’s unfortunate that the teacher contract matter is going to arbitration.

The people who suffer are students, he said.

Arbitration is a long, drawn out process, Lombardo said, adding that the frustrating piece is the unknown.

The union asked Lombardo for assistance with contract negotiations. He met with both parties individually and together last month, and encouraged them to continue bargaining.

The union is continuing to hold “payday rallies” outside of schools and has said it’s planning a large-scale event in the near future, but a date hasn’t been announced.

Members of the union have protested for a couple of months, including thousands of educators who demonstrated outside two school board meetings in August and filled the meeting room.

In late July, the school district filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prevent a future teacher strike. Last month, the union filed a motion to dismiss and a court hearing was Tuesday.

Last week, the district filed an emergency motion in the case aiming to stop “rolling sickouts” that led to one-day closures at eight schools and disrupted operations at a handful of others since Sept. 1. The union has denied any involvement.

A district judge ruled that a teacher strike had occurred and issued a preliminary injunction.

The union filed a notice of appeal and emergency motion for stay with the Nevada Supreme Court, which denied the emergency motion Friday. The appeal remains pending.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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