Schools waiting for budget to hire teachers
In the past couple of months, Heide Nielsen-Lerud graduated from college, got married and was offered her first teaching job — almost.
She interviewed with the Carson City School District and was promised a position as a second-grade teacher at Fritsch Elementary School — on the condition the Legislature decides on a budget.
“Everything’s falling into place except that one piece,” she said. “It’s a strange feeling and it’s hard not knowing for sure.”
Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said Nielsen-Lerud’s situation is not peculiar this year. Legislators failed to pass a budget before the regular session ended June 2. Two special sessions also ended with no results.
The Legislature will reconvene Wednesday to approach the process once again.
“As we move along closer to the beginning of the school year, it becomes more and more difficult,” Pierczynski said. “Our applicants will go elsewhere. That is our big concern.”
It’s a concern for school administrators across the state.
The Nevada Association of School Superintendents crafted a letter to be sent to all legislators warning of possible consequences if qualified teachers are not offered contracts.
“In the long term, not having highly qualified teachers for Nevada’s students will do irreparable harm to the ability of our children to learn and achieve,” the letter read.
But for Nielsen-Lerud, who married Jeff Lerud on June 14, leaving the state isn’t an option.
She worked as a secretary for the school district while going to school, then substituted. She completed her student teaching at Fritsch Elementary School.
“I love working for the Carson City School District and I’m so excited to have the chance to work at Fritsch,” she said. “I really want to work in Nevada. This is my home.”
Pierczynski said superintendents are also worried about not receiving their monthly funds in the distributive school account.
Carson City receives about $1.5 million each month. The account makes up about 40 percent of Carson City’s daily operations.
Financial Director Bob Anderson said the school district will maintain operation for the next month.
“We’re good through July,” he said. “We have a healthy cash flow and a healthy balance. We are being fiscally responsible and watching every penny.”
He said he is confident a budget will be passed by the end of July.
“Reasonable men and women will prevail.”
Nielsen-Lerud is also optimistic. She has met with her team teacher and made plans for the upcoming year.
“We have a positive outlook on it,” she said. “I feel that this is going to happen.”