Gibbons budget plan eliminates arbitration, class size reduction funding |

Gibbons budget plan eliminates arbitration, class size reduction funding

File photoGov. Jim Gibbons

Sources within Jim Gibbons’ administration confirmed today that his budget cutting plan will include extensive changes to what teachers and local government employees consider sacred.

The plan to be announced after a meeting with lawmakers this afternoon includes eliminating class size reduction and the full-day kindergarten programs.

In addition, he will propose eliminating mandatory collective bargaining for not only school district employees but county and municipal government workers.

Full-day kindergarten is budgeted at $25.5 million a year this biennium to cover schools in low-income areas. Most kindergarten classes in Nevada operate just half a day.

Class size reduction costs the state about $145 million a year and pays for teachers  to keep first and second grade classes at no more than 16 students per teacher and third grade at no more than 19 students. If eliminated, the number of pupils in first, second and third grade classes would essentially double, but that $145 million a year budget would be cut in half.

All public employees except state workers currently have collective bargaining rights including, if and when the government and union representatives can’t agree, mandatory arbitration. That lets an arbitrator choose between the government proposal and the employee proposal, which conservatives say has dramatically inflated local government employee salaries.

Gibbons meets with legislative leadership at 1:30 p.m. by video-conference from Las Vegas to lay out his recommendations.

Chief of Staff Robin Reedy would not spell out the detailed recommendations before that time.