On facing pages of the morning newspaper were two highly related stories.
On 2B, the Clark County Schools Superintendent Jesus Jara bemoans budget cuts that will reduce efforts to increase school safety.
On 3B, the state Senate passes a bill that will increase the cost to taxpayers of school construction projects. The governor is expected to sign the bill. Every Republican in the Assembly and state Senate voted against it.
Assembly Bill 136 reverses a modest rollback passed in 2015 that reduced the wages that must be paid on public school and college construction to 90 percent of the prevailing wage and raised the threshold for covered projects from $100,000 to $250,000.
The prevailing wage law requires that workers on public construction jobs be paid no less than the “prevailing” wage in the area where the work is being done. The wage rate is set by the state Labor Commissioner based on a survey of contractors. The survey is so time consuming that in reality only union shops bother to comply, meaning the prevailing wage is the highest union wage. Republicans say the change will add 25 percent to the cost of school construction.
But as the first story relates, legislators have cut funding for school safety and suggested Clark and Washoe county districts pay for such safety needs through their own capital improvement funds.
Hmmm. Which will now be able to cover 25 percent less of the cost. Right hand, meet left hand.
Clark already is behind $6 billion in maintenance spending, and that doesn’t include the cost of replacing and repairing playgrounds that the newspaper recently reported are falling into disrepair. That too is safety issue.
Meanwhile, the Clark school board approved a budget that doesn’t include the governor’s promised raises. But union construction workers will get theirs. It is for the sake of the children, right?