When you don’t know what you’re talking about, use the children to send your message. That’s what adults upset over the Clark County School District’s budget problems have done.
“The school district is not paying teachers enough money, and that is hurting our teachers,” said Ryan Brady, 10, a fourth-grader at Stanford Elementary School. “That is also hurting the community, because you’re taking teachers away with budget cuts.”
Ryan was one of six students Wednesday supposedly upset about budget deficits. Be real. Adults — be they parents, teachers or union officials — turned these kids into media props. Being a cute 10-year-old might draw the cameras, but it doesn’t mean whoever wrote your script knows what they’re talking about.
In the short-term, there’s an obvious tension between Ryan’s two statements. If you pay teachers more, the school district — with limited financial reserves and no ability to raise its own revenue — will have fewer teachers.
The $68 million in budget reductions may be only the beginning, too. The district has yet to reach pay agreements with four of its five bargaining units — for the school year that ended Thursday. There’s also a pending $7 million award to support staff employees for work done during the 2012-2015 school years. The district appealed that a year ago.
Lose any of these decisions, and schools will have to use next year’s budget to pay employees for work they already did.