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Enough is Enough! Pro-Education Lawmakers Return Your NRA Contributions TODAY

December 19, 2012

Today I started launching Change.org petitions to get our “pro-education” Democrats to return contributions made to their campaigns from the National Rifle Association.

This is a start to demonstrate the strong moral courage our legislators will need to enact common sense gun legislation in our community.

Please take a moment and sign these petitions:

Debbie Smith – Return $1000 from the NRA 

Kelvin Atkinson – Return $500 from the NRA 

James Ohrenschall – Return $250 from the NRA 

Elliot Anderson – Return $500 from the NRA 

David Parks – Return $500 from the NRA 

 

 

Assemblywoman Debbie Smith of Sparks, Nevada – Received a $1000.00 contribution from the NRA on September 18th, 2012 

Debbie Smith Contribution NRA

Kelvin Atkinson accepted $500 from the NRA on May 23, 2012

Kelvin NRA

James Ohrenschall accepted a contribution in the amount of $250 from the NRA

J O NRAAssemblyman Elliot Anderson accepted a $500 contribution on May 23rd, 2012

elliot nra

State Senator David Parks accepted a $500 contribution from the NRA on April 27th

parks senate

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Talking Back to the State of the District Speech for 2012

January 7, 2012

Click Image Above to View State of the District Speech for 2012

 

Dwight Jones State of the District 2012

From the begining when Mr. Jones complimented Governor Sandoval on his leadership of our state in the area of education. Really? What has Sandoval done for kids?

Mr. Jones took his shot at teachers that he is “disappointed” that there is no contract with teachers and promises one that shows “how much our district values their hard work.” Oddly that is not what has come across the table. How much do we value our teachers when we threaten them with lay-offs just before Christmas.

I don’t trust an administrator who does not admit that running a quality school district is going to cost MORE money than we spend today.

 

A couple of times he stressed the benefits of keeping funds in the classroom (but out of the teachers’ family budgets or in their healthcare trust). Interesting for a man with some generous extra benefits in his contract as shown below.

He shared that employees of the district know he will “take bold steps forward” and “get worse before they get better” which to me sounds like code that our working families serving the district are going to bleed a little more. He

What he says we can expect to see in the coming months:

  • Continued Work on Turnaround School Efforts
  • Re-Double Efforts Around Re-Claiming Drop-Outs
  • Reduce Costs
  • Investment in Talent of the Teachers to do the best work with their young people.
  • Investment in Infrastructure
  • Invest in the Human Resources System and reduce costs (code for working to take away Teachers Healthcare Trust)
  • Early Childhood Services

Dwight believes that community involvement is the key to turning around the schools. It sounds nice but it is really not that simple. Anyone who has worked with volunteer organizations knows that the ebb and flow of outreach is not what we should use as a backbone of our school system.

My experience having children in multiple schools is that this is a way to create “have” schools where the parents have the resources to put into their child’s education – and “have – not” schools where the parents fight for day-t0-day survival can’t take time off the clock to throw a pizza party. Empowerment schools work when you have a bunch of middle class mothers who want the social interaction of a volunteer organization. To those neighborhoods where parents can’t for any number of reasons, then it is YOUR fault your kid attends a crappy school.

We need a superintendent genuinely committed to EVERY child in our district. Not just the ones whose parents have the ability to complain.

 The community action we need is a long term solution to pay for education in our state. Teaching children costs money and we can no longer afford to have year after year of crisis. This is our hometown. Dwight from what I hear has not even moved his own family into our district. Las Vegas is not “good enough” for his precious family. It is time for parents to hold the entire chain of command that funds our schools all the way down to administrators that our families deserve a quality community.

A quality community starts with a quality school system.

I don’t see that commitment in Dwight Jones.

Please go home to your children and leave ours alone.

__________________________________________________

 Ref: Dwight Jones School District Employment Contract $270k a year, $700 a month for automobile, plus mileage reimbursement, plus health insurance, and retirement plus

To that end,
Mr. Jones shall be provided an allowance of $660.00 per month to defray the expenses associated with these activities.  Mr. Jones shall periodically report to the Board on his participation in community activities.    In addition, Mr. Jones may expend $4,000 per annum of the District’s funds for reasonable costs associated with professional dues and attendance at local, state and national school-related professional meetings. 

(6)  Leave accruals.  Mr. Jones shall be entitled to the accrual, use, and buyout of leave as that set forth in the CCASAPE agreement.  In addition, he shall be provided an additional seven (7) days of vacation leave each year of this agreement.  On each anniversary of the commencement of his service, Mr. Jones may elect to have the District compensate him for up to fifteen (15) days of vacation leave unused during the just completed year of this agreement at the rate of pay in effect at the end of the just completed year.  For this purpose, Mr. Jones is not restricted by the accumulation requirements set forth in the CCASAPE agreement.  Upon termination of this agreement, or any extension thereof, Mr. Jones is entitled to be compensated for up to 60 days’ unused accumulated sick leave at the rate of pay in effect upon termination.
(7)  Pre-Term Per Diem Expenses.  In the event that Mr. Jones chooses to travel to Las Vegas to meet with District personnel prior to the start of his employment, Mr. Jones may be reimbursed for up to eight (8) days at a daily rate of $1,000.00.  The District will also pay for travel to and from Las Vegas for up to four (4) trips, including reasonable hotel accommodations 4 and per diem allowance consistent with District policy.  Travel will be coordinated by the Board’s executive staff.
(8)  Moving Expenses.  The District will reimburse Mr. Jones’ expenses in relocating from Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada in an amount not to exceed $15,000.00.  Mr. Jones will provide the District receipts for expenses related to this relocation, and the District will reimburse said expenses within 30 days.

It will be interesting when Transparent Nevada posts the most recent CCSD warrants to see how many pre-employment trips Mr. Jones enjoyed on the district dime and a confirmation as to if he has received relocation benefits for his family yet.  

PLUS he has a 12 month golden parachute money guarantee!

(b)  Termination for convenience by Board.  In addition to the nonrenewal provisions set forth in Paragraph 6 above, the Board may terminate this agreement by providing Mr. Jones ninety (90) days notice of termination.  In the event of such notice, this agreement shall be at an end on that 90 th  day, and Mr. Jones shall be paid, in a lump sum payment, all salary and monetary equivalent of employee benefits owing to Mr. Jones hereunder for the 12 month period following such early termination, or for the period of time remaining on the current term or extension, whichever period is less.  Other than said lump sum payment, the Board and District shall have no further obligation to Mr. Jones, save the payout of accumulated benefits as provided herein in Paragraph 4(b)

Will Cutting Childcare Benefits Create a Pedophile Paradise in Nevada?

January 4, 2012

Read this sad release from our Governor:

Welfare Announces Reductions to Child Care Subsidy

220 Families will be Placed on Waitlist as Current Eligibility is Revised

Just another step in the un-ending cycle of poverty and low expectations for Nevada children. 

How do we expect low income Nevada families to pull themselves up by the boot straps when they have no one to watch their children so they can get to work?

How do we expect children from low income families to be ready to learn if they can’t attend Head Start?

Nevada we should be ashamed. All children deserve better than this!

Nevada tax payers deserve better.  Cutting the earliest programs just kick the can down the line (as GOP loves to say in our budget crisis) adding expense and inefficiency to our schools when children who would have been screened for Autism, ADHD, and other disabilities receive no intervention until they reach the kindergarten classroom.

We cannot kick families in the teeth for not working when keeping their incomes low may be the only way to get services for their child. Our community needs to respect work by giving families this critical hand up to be productive members of the workforce. This is only achieved by subsidy for high quality childcare.

Respect working low income families. Don’t place them in the position of having to decide to not work at all, leave their young children home alone, or worse place their children at risk of molestation with questionable caregivers because there is no other way to pay the bills.

We always have the money to investigate a child molester which costs considerably more than just having available the care children need in the first place. Are we at risk of creating a pedophilia paradise when our state creates the most desperate parents at the greatest risk of becoming victim to these skilled sociopaths.

Read Gavin DeBecker Protecting the Gift where he eloquently details how predators look for struggling families in order to gain trust and take advantage of children by offering free childcare. Unfortunately many of these parents know in their guts there is something not quite right about the offer, but faced with dire financial consequences the choice tips in the direction of accepting the help. When as a society we do not help families protect their children we are feeding the sick cycle of sex abuse.

Poor children face numerous challenges  that Governor Sandoval’s office has chosen to exasperate by taking away one of the last safety nets.

 

Time for Parents to Show up! Support Teachers! #CCSD #NVEd #NVTeach

December 8, 2011

No other group in our community is fighting harder for our kids than our teachers. Nevada is a hard place to be a teacher which means as parents we need to step up even more.

While media pundits attack our teachers they can’t fight back because they are in the classroom WITH OUR CHILDREN! This situation was foreseeable as shown in this message from August. 

The greatest gift we give teachers this season is our respect and a pledge that we will not stay silent in this fight!

It is time to stand up for the hardest working teachers in America right here in Las Vegas!

Teachers will use their collective voices to send a loud message to the School Board of Trustees at the Thursday, December 8th meeting, demanding that CCSD put every resource needed in the classroom in order for students to succeed.

This is what our local teachers union wants parents to know:

Invest in Education.

A key to student success is more resources in the classroom.

  How is CCSD going to deliver on a quality education for Clark County’s students when it is contemplating a reduction in force as a way to balance its budget?  If CCSD follows through with the layoffs, thousands of students will be shortchanged.  Larger class sizes will make it more difficult for children to receive the individualized learning that delivers student achievement and success.

Join the fight.  You are in the trenches working hard to provide your students with the best educational experience.  Let’s share with the Trustees the components necessary for a successful teaching & learning environment.

Key components:

· Invest in education:

o   Put resources back into the classroom

o   Create a positive learning environment

o   Embrace experience and new ideas that foster collaboration

· Invest in educators:

o   Provide adequate time to fulfill job expectations

o   Improve school climate & working conditions

o   Respect veteran teachers & those new to the profession

PARENTS: Our teachers NEED US at this Meeting! 

CCSD School Board Meeting   How to speak and Where to Go

December 8th – 4pm – Edward A. Greer Education Center, 2832 East Flamingo Road

This week principals were told to tell their teachers  –  either 700 teachers would be laid off at Christmastime OR the salary increase given to teachers in September would need to be returned.

This is UNFAIR! Teachers have always been willing to deal. The district needs to be willing to come to the table with a fair negotiation.

Teachers would like a deal similar to the one given to administrators this summer – 2% cost of living increase cut. It is not fair to ask teachers to pay MORE – up to 15% cuts in pay and benefits.

If you are not able to attend the school board meeting – please write your school board trustee and tell them . . . TEACHERS WANT A DEAL!

Please stop blaming teachers for this mismanagement!

Call 799-1072 and ask to be placed on the public speaker list under the Employee Labor Relations agenda item

Please stop telling the media teachers don’t like kids!

http://www.ccsd.net/trustees/trusteeList.php

Tweeting at hashtags: #nved #ccsd #nvteach

— If you wish to address the School Board of Trustees:

Please keep in mind that public speaking (often times) takes place between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., but as early as 6:30 p.m.

· Call 799-1072 and ask to be placed on the public speaker list under the Employee Labor Relations agenda item.

· Prepare a 3-minute speech/statement, but plan on reducing it to 2 minutes or less if there are many speakers present.

· When addressing the Trustees, please help us deliver this message:  Invest in Education — A key to student success is more resources in the classroom.

· As you prepare your remarks, please share with the Trustees the many challenges you are currently facing in delivering a quality education to the students you teach.  Let them know how these challenges will get further exacerbated if the resources continue to get cut.

· Wear RED in support of education and educators.

The Problem with Nevada’s Promise

November 30, 2011

Take a trip through the Nevada’s Promise presentation for 2010. First glance it identifies the challenges facing our school system. Yet its proposed solutions are WRONG for Nevada’s children.

View the Powerpoint Here 

In order to ensure a good quality education for all students we need to ensure that:

  • Public funds do not go to fund private schools.  Vouchers draw funds away from a budget already stretched thin and pays them to families who have already decided to pay for private education. Vouchers will never 100% cover the cost of a private school education leaving most families behind.
  • Teachers are well qualified and appropriately compensated. Teaching should be a career encouraging investment in a community where teachers can put down roots for their own families. At the end of their long service teachers deserve retirement security.
  • School administrators are true partners in education who must understand the unique needs of the neighborhood they serve.
  • Charter schools are truly public choice options for students of all income levels. Backdoor practices to keep out poor students by requiring the purchase of uniforms, transportation packages, or excessive fees keep out our most vulnerable students forcing them to be the last ones left in their neighborhood school.

Nevada’s promise is just bad policy. Shaking up an underfunded system does not fix it. All it does is move the target of discontent.

Making the Governor in charge of education policy is a bad idea when we continue to elect governors who promise to NEVER raise taxes in a state that already enjoys the lowest taxes in our nation. We cannot count on one single elected official to have the intellectual integrity it takes to put education first. It is our job to hold them ALL accountable.

Our Students Cannot Wait!

November 30, 2011

As an involved parent of four children I am always hearing from parents that they wish they could be more involved in the political process to elect candidates who will fix the education problem in Nevada. Yet, sadly the system itself is complex and not entirely inviting to parents and even teachers to add direct action into their busy lives.

This blog is a both a resource and a call to action.  The following topics will be covered so that by next legislative session we have a base of parents, teachers, and even students articulate about the issues ready to communicate that the system MUST change.

We have an election cycle coming in 2012 in which as involved stakeholders in public education we must demand that candidates answer the tough questions about education.

Working on the model of other advocacy groups I will post interviews and statements from candidates regarding education issues.

Please subscribe to the email list so as new information and action is posted you will receive it directly in email.

The same old way of complaining about our schools and forgetting about it every other year is not working. It is time to mobilize 24/7 via social media and direct contact. I sincere hope is that established groups will want to work with us. Yet we can’t wait another day as our teachers lose their pay and benefits, and students lose ground in the classroom.