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Clark County School District teachers rally outside Liberty High School after CCSD Trustees cancel the school board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

The Clark County School District has requested a court injunction to avert a potential teacher strike it says would have a “crippling” effect on education.

The move follows an impasse in negotiations with the Clark County Education Association over a contract. The teachers’ union has rejected the district’s proposed contract, which it extended to all bargaining groups and contains 3 percent cost-of-living raises, 2 percent seniority raises and an increased contribution to health care plans. The union, however, has been calling for another pay raise for eligible teachers who completed a professional development plan.

The district requested mediation with the teachers’ union last week, but CCEA initially didn’t agree to it. But the union released a statement Monday night announcing it had agreed to let the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service assist in the dispute. Mediation occurs when both sides cannot reach a solution during collective bargaining.

The teachers’ union, however, did not back down from its strike plan. Teacher strikes are illegal under Nevada law, but CCEA has scheduled a Sept. 10 strike if there’s no contract agreement. School district officials said teachers who strike could be disciplined and will be considered on unapproved leave and, therefore, not paid.

The teachers’ union fired back after the district announced its request for an injunction, calling the state law barring strikes unconstitutional and vowing to challenge it up through the Nevada Supreme Court. Union officials also allege the district “mismanaged its budget,” leading to the current situation.

“During negotiations today CCSD continued to bargain in bad faith by proposing to abolish the entire compensation system for 18,000 educators,” the union said in a statement. “Under Superintendent Jara the District is now sending a clear message that he does not value educators. Schools without teachers are not schools.”

District officials still expressed hope that a resolution could be found.

“We are looking at every department, every function to see if there’s a way to find the resources. No line item will be overlooked during this very thorough review process,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement. “We want to avert a strike by any means. We sought a request for injunctive relief to protect our 320,000 precious assets and our community. It’s not the move we wanted, but in the interest of the families we serve, we had no other possible choice.”

This story was updated at 8:47 p.m. to include the union’s response.

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