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NV Back to School: More Teachers for Some, More of the Same for Most

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Monday, August 19, 2013   

LAS VEGAS - It's back to school today in many parts of Nevada, including Clark County (Las Vegas), where public school pupils will find about 1500 additional teachers in the classrooms.

However, according to Nevada State Education Association President Ruben Murillo Jr., Clark County is still a couple of hundred short of the 1700 new teachers it intends to add to the classrooms this year, and just getting those teachers hired is only a first step.

"Whenever you bring that number of teachers in, the challenge is not only just integrating them into a massive system," Murillo said. "You're looking for materials, you're looking for the funding for not just pencils and paper but for books and technology."

Murillo said school counselors, nurses and other key education support professionals are also needed to ensure children get the highest-quality education. He said many districts across the state will not be getting an influx of teachers, so many pupils in other districts will again be coping with large class sizes.

He said the past legislative session did produce some positive results, but they are very limited in the way they will help pupils this year, because of lack of funding.

"The best thing that happened was the identification of key areas necessary for students to be successful in the classroom," he stated. "As I said, though, the governor and the Legislature did a paltry job at it because nobody found a source of revenue."

Murillo said that after some very tough years during the deep point in the recession, things are looking better, but he added that it will take cooperation and funding to maintain progress.

"The smell of optimism is in the air, you can smell it," he declared. "It's like a rain after a storm; you have the sense of things getting better, but unless it keeps raining, optimism could disappear, and now it's up to us, the community and legislators, to keep that optimism growing."

Murillo said there will be sharp contrasts in what students experience this year with class size limited for kindergarten, but no limits in the upper grades.

(We will have more on that and changes for ELL pupils in reports planned for the coming weeks).





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