Humboldt County educators will get extra 8 percent raises through lawmaker-approved funds
The Interim Finance Committee on Wednesday authorized $2.6 million for the Humboldt County School District to pay for staff salary raises through a $250 million matching fund created during the 2023 legislative session.
The school district that serves Winnemucca and surrounding areas is the first to come before the committee — an interim group of lawmakers that makes state spending decisions while the Legislature is out of session — to request its share of the SB231 funds. How to use those funds has been a sticking point in an ongoing teacher contract dispute in Clark County, the state’s largest district.
Superintendent Dave Jensen told the committee that with the funds, the district will be able to provide a 3.2 pay increase for its 420 certified and classified employees for this school year, and a 4.8 percent increase for the next school year — though Jensen said that percentage could be adjusted depending on staff turnover.
“It's going to put additional revenue in the pockets of our employees, our certified and classified staff members, as soon as next week,” Jensen said in a Wednesday phone interview.
The pay bumps for district employees funded through the SB231 come on top of a 7.875 percent increase for certified educators this school year (6 percent increase in base pay and a 1.875 percent increase to cover employees’ portion of contributions to their state retirement plan).
Certified educators will get another 4 percent increase in their base pay next school year. Those increases were approved as part of the district’s new contract with the Humboldt County Education Association, the union that represents the district’s certified educators, which was ratified in June.
Meanwhile, employees under the Humboldt County Support Staff Organization, the union that represents the district’s support staff, received an 11.875 increase (a 10 percent base increase and a 1.875 percent increase to cover employees’ portion of contributions to their state retirement plan) during this school year.
The contracts include language that the bonuses awarded through SB231 would sunset effective July 1, 2025, unless the funding is renewed by the Legislature. Jensen said those funds will be reported and tracked separately from the other pay raises that the district negotiated with the two bargaining units.
“The reason that's important for districts is that if for some reason the state is not able to continue this in the next biennium, it would look like we are cutting employee salaries,” Jensen said. “Right now, the will’s there, but in a year and a half depending on economic factors, will that ability continue? We don't know.”
Other school districts such as Carson City and Lyon County have also included similar sunset clauses in their new teacher and support staff collective bargaining contracts.
In Clark County, the Education Support Employees Association and Teamsters Local 14, the unions that represent support staff at the Clark County School District (CCSD), approved of a sunset clause in their newest contract with CCSD.
But the Clark County Education Association has argued that the SB231 funds the state’s largest school district receives for teachers should be used for permanent salary increases. CCSD has said there is no statutory assurance that SB231 funds will be available in the next biennium.
During the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) said she was glad to see the Humboldt County School District didn’t have any complications with its use of the SB231 funds.
Last month, CCSD declared an impasse in its negotiations with CCEA triggering the start of arbitration, a process that the teachers union said could drag into the next school year.