Clark County Education Association refuses to endorse 2022 gubernatorial race – The Nevada Independent

The Clark County Education Association announced Tuesday that it would not endorse any candidate in the gubernatorial race, marking a departure from the previous election cycle when the union endorsed the current governor. Steve Sisolack.

CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita said the lack of plans by the two candidates — Sisolak, a Democrat seeking re-election, and his Republican challenger, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo — led to the decision not to no approval. The union’s board of directors interviewed each candidate twice before making this call.

The union believes the governor must work with school districts to address a myriad of pressing issues that have arisen or been compounded by the pandemic, such as the continued shortage of teachers and students falling behind in school, Vellardita said.

“We’re looking for that kind of leadership in the state, and we just haven’t seen it,” he said, noting that the council heard “only campaign promises and the rhetoric of accomplishments. past”.

The decision not to approve is not entirely unprecedented. In 2014, the CCEA chose not to back anyone in the gubernatorial race, Vellardita said, because there was no viable Democratic candidate and the union did not back Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval in his election. first application in 2010.

The union, which represents more than 18,000 licensed educators in the nation’s fifth-largest school district, also pointed out that the district continues to struggle with unwieldy classrooms, educator vacancies, an increase in school violence, school and the ramifications of the COVID pandemic.

“This moment demands that the leadership of the state step up and work strategically with school districts, if we are serious about addressing the issues facing our educators and students,” a statement from the union said. “We expected to hear a plan to address these issues over the next four years; and we didn’t. Accordingly, the CCEA cannot endorse Steve Sisolak for re-election and will not endorse in the 2022 gubernatorial race.”

Following the announcement, both gubernatorial campaigns swept aside their competitors. Lombardo’s campaign team sent out a press release saying the union’s refusal to endorse Sisolak for the second time is evidence of the governor’s failure to support teachers and students.

“Our schools aren’t safe, our students aren’t meeting basic academic standards, and our teachers have a poor quality of life,” Lombardo spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray said. “Unlike Steve Sisolak, Sheriff Joe Lombardo has a plan to fix Nevada’s broken education system, and he will work immediately to bring safety, accountability and empowerment to our schools.”

When asked why the union didn’t endorse Lombardo, Vellardita said, “It’s not a matter of choice – one candidate versus the other. It’s a leadership referendum at the state level, and I think that’s the goal of our organization.

In an email, Sisolak campaign spokesman Reeves Oyster said the governor has taken unprecedented steps to support Nevada students, teachers and parents by increasing funding for schools without increasing Nevada residents’ taxes, giving teachers their first raise in more than 10 years and earmarking $500 million. to the state education system.

“While Joe Lombardo wants to take up to $300 million out of our schools, put guns in the classroom and say ‘I don’t know’ when asked if schools were underfunded during the campaign,” Oyster said. “Governor Sisolak has pledged to continue his progress in a second term by reducing classroom sizes, providing another raise for teachers, expanding opportunities to obtain a teacher’s license and identifying pathways for universal pre-kindergarten.”

Vellardita described both candidates as being “non-committal” when pressed on their plans to address the teacher pipeline issue (too many teaching vacancies and not enough people entering the field) as well as K-12 funding recommendations from the Commission on School Funding (a group overseeing the implementation of the state’s new education funding formula).

These concerns played a bigger role in the union’s decision not to back a candidate, unlike other burning issues, such as school choice.

“We don’t think that’s the determining factor in who should be governor,” Vellardita said.

Asked if the non-approval was a strategic decision, given the uncertainty over which political party will take control before the 2023 legislative session, Vellardita declined to comment.

In a recent debate, both candidates said they support raising teachers’ salaries. Lombardo noted that he would support a 2% or 3% increase tied to the annual inflation rate, while Sisolak countered that increases needed to be above 3% to account for rising costs of living.

Lombardo’s education plan proposes to address the state’s teacher shortage by reforming licensing requirements for out-of-state teachers coming to Nevada and creating “a incentive system for new educators to come in and end up calling Nevada home.”

Other key tenets of his education plan include supporting school choice and opposing restorative justice policies in schools.

During the election campaign, Sisolak touted his administration’s record on education, drawing attention to updates to the state’s education funding formula and the $200 million allocation. to address learning loss during the pandemic, among other efforts.

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