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School superintendents ask legislature to address collective bargaining


By Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau: Superintendents have asked legislators to open up collective bargaining laws.

They asked for more flexibility with the money the state gives them. Currently, school districts bargain with teachers and teachers’ unions for funds.

That means that the governor’s proposal to cut teacher pay 5 percent is not a foregone conclusion.

Districts still have to negotiate with teachers to ensure a 5 percent cut happens.

“We can ask but that doesn’t mean that you can get all of those concessions,” said Heath Morrison, superintendent of the Washoe County School District, at a legislative hearing Wednesday.

Morrison called the pay cuts “unfunded mandates” because they give districts less money with an expectation that the districts will bargain for those pay cuts.

Rob Roberts, superintendent of Nye County School District and president of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents, addressed legislators in an education committee today.

He said the superintendent’s would ideally like no cuts to the K-12 budget at all.

“We want you to hold the line on budget cuts,” he said. “We’ve cut to the bone … Many of the rural districts are barely surviving.”

The governor’s budget, however, cuts the districts’ budget by more than a half billion dollars.

Legislators would need to raise taxes to make up that shortfall.

If Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget passes with cuts to K-12 education, that’s when the superintendents would support opening up collective bargaining.

Sandoval has not personally pushed for changes to collectively bargaining, but he said he would welcome a discussion in the Legislature.

Legislators have yet to discuss opening up the Nevada’s collective bargaining statutes.

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