Teacher pay cuts may be difficult to implement

Taking a 6 percent cut of teacher fees could cost school districts as much in legal fees as they'd save from the reductions.

Douglas County Superintendent of Schools Carol Lark said on Wednesday that a 6 percent decrease in teachers' salaries in the district would result in $1.7 million reduction in the budget.

But teachers salaries are the result of a negotiated contract that doesn't expire until June 30, Lark said.

Lark said the administration and school board expect the teachers to accept the cuts.

"We've made the commitment to spread the cuts out as much as possible," she said. "We fully believe we need to bear the burden of these cuts equally."

The school district is one of the county's largest employers with about 800 employees. Half of those are teachers.

"This will be dropped in our laps if the money is taken out of the distributive school account," she said. "That leaves us with the problem of contract negotiations."

Lark said an impasse over negotiations would result in the district paying to defend itself in court.

"You could use quite a bit of that money in legal fees," she said.

Gov. Jim Gibbons was expected to call for a 6-percent pay cut for everyone paid out of the state budget at his state of the state address on Thursday.

Gibbons proposal will be debated during the budget process by legislators. Nevada's Legislature meets every two years for anywhere from five to six months. The session begins on Feb. 2.

Once the budget is worked out, school and teachers' association members meet to work out teachers pay over the next year.

In Nevada, teachers are not allowed to strike, but negotiations are subject to binding arbitration if the parties do not agree.


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