Day after Vegas school employee shot, unions push bill to add safety staffers
A day after a campus safety monitor was shot at an east Las Vegas school, lawmakers considered a bill that would establish a ratio for custodial and campus safety staff at Clark County school sites.
The bill, SB148, sponsored by Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas), is being pushed by the Teamsters Union 14 and the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA), two bargaining units that together represent 13,000 support professional employees within the Clark County School District.
Under the bill, CCSD schools would be required to have three security staff members such as campus safety monitors for every 1,000 students “to the extent such personnel are available” from the pool of district employees. If the bill passes, each school would have a minimum of three campus safety monitors.
ESEA President Jan Giles said very few CCSD elementary schools have a campus safety monitor at the moment.
“We know that elementary schools are not immune to violence,” she said.
The bill’s hearing at the Assembly Education Committee's Tuesday meeting comes a day after a campus safety monitor was shot by a stray bullet from a shooting that took place a few blocks away from Von Tobel Middle School.
Giles said while no one can prevent a stray bullet from being in the area of a school, “we can definitely be prepared for an attack on students in a school setting.”
The bill would also require one custodian for every 11,000-18,000 square feet, consistent with Level 2 cleaning standards established by the U.S. Department of Education.
The bill prevents school administrators from outsourcing those positions and services. If the district doesn’t have enough personnel needed to meet the ratios set by SB148, the bill allows principals to use unspent money from other budget years to employ any additional staff members necessary to get into compliance.
“Most troublesome for those of us representing support professionals, is the magnitude of the unspent budget carry forwards that are now exceeding approximately $250 million in the schools. Yet we can't fill these positions,” said Fred Horvath with Teamsters Local 14. “A significant portion of these unspent dollars emanate from salary savings due to vacant positions not being filled.”
The bill received support from the school district as well as the statewide teachers union, the Nevada State Education Association.
While the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees supports increasing the number of custodians and security staff assigned to schools, Executive Director Jeff Horn said he’s against language in SB148 and other bills that allows surplused educators, who are involuntarily transferred from a school because of a reduction of students, programs or departments, to join their schools without administrator's say. That’s a provision that is part of some collective bargaining agreements that Horn said aren’t aligned with the 2017 reorganization law, which empowered principals to select their own staff.
“SB148, if it becomes law as written, will ensure that this small handful of educators will always have a place teaching our most precious resource, our kids,” he said.