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Parents, Teachers Get Ready for New School Year | News

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Parents, Teachers Get Ready for New School Year
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LAS VEGAS -- The countdown to the new school year is on and district leaders are trying new ways to make sure there's enough money to keep classes open.

At a back to school fair at the Walnut Community Center, Clark County gave away free backpacks and school supplies. But it's going to take a lot more than that to keep school programs open.

Cathie Ringhofer teaches second grade at Forbuss Elementary School. She says she has the supplies to teach her 18 students, but just having enough isn't good enough for Principal Shawn Paquette. He's entered Forbuss into an online Facebook vote competition run by Kohl's Department Store worth half a million dollars.

"Right now, we have 2,500 votes. We have the most votes of any Clark County School and we're definitely in the top 20 right now. We would like to keep that lead and we're asking for the community's help," he said. "We're gearing the money towards science and technology."

Those teaching fields are among the most in demand at the Clark County School District.

"I highly encourage them to focus in on math, science and special ed because you're almost guaranteed a job," said school board president Terri Janison.

Five new schools, including Stuckey Elementary, are opening up this year. It's from the last of the 1998 bond money. Now that the district lost the Race to the Top grant, it's hoping to hear Wednesday that it won a federal grant worth nearly $20 million.

"It all focuses back on the classroom and the Race to the Top funds didn't focus in on the classroom so much as it did in other areas," said Janison.

A crucial day comes two weeks after the August 30 start of the school year. That's when all students are counted and state payments are determined. But CCSD doesn't know how ready they'll be if thousands of students come in from neighboring Arizona.

"It's very frustrating for us, because even with that situation that's occurring in Arizona, the federal government has cut the funding for this second language students in our district for the past several years," said Janison.

No matter what funding challenges remain for the district and its parents, teachers are trying to keep the effects of recession away from their students.

"You try to get them away from any of the pressures that may be going on in their own individual homes," said Ringhofer.

Parents who need some extra help have until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday to go to the Walnut Community Center. There's free backpacks and school supplies there.

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