Superintendent Jara to consider alternatives to dean cuts

Posted Friday, 12 July 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Superintendent Jesus Jara announced Thursday night that he will explore ways to make up for a projected $17 million budget deficit for the 2019-2020 school year without eliminating the district’s deans. The concession came four and a half hours into a packed Clark County School District Board of Trustees meeting and following testimony from more than half a dozen frustrated deans and members of the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees. Jara will consult relevant members of the district’s central administration Monday or Tuesday and present to the public “other options” for addressing the $17 million deficit, he said. “I have some ideas, but I don’t want to overcommunicate tonight,” Jara said. With school set to start in one month, the future of the district’s 170 deans remains in limbo. Jara shared his intention to eliminate the positions on June 12 in response to news of the budget deficit and promised to offer all affected deans placements as teachers. But a judge ruled Monday to block the elimination of deans until an Aug. 14 hearing that will settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of CCASA. The lawsuit alleges that Jara and the school board violated the state’s open meeting law by deciding to eliminate the dean positions during a closed-door board meeting June 5. Jara has insisted that the unannounced, private meeting was held to discuss collective bargaining issues, and that the school board didn’t vote on cutting dean positions at the meeting because he has the sole authority to make budgetary cuts. “It was a meeting concerning confidential negotiations protected under the law,” he affirmed Thursday night. Nonetheless, deans decried the process by which their positions were eliminated as insensitive and condemned the move as detrimental to student safety, success and well-being. Deans oversee a range of administrative and supportive tasks at middle and high schools, including discipline, conflict resolution, teacher and staff support and extracurricular activities. “Other than the blatantly obvious safety issues, how do you expect that the elimination of the position will not impact students?” said middle school dean Dianne Bolton. In addition to questioning the potential impacts of eliminating deans, critics of Jara’s decision, including some school board members, argued that he should have received more input, and even a vote of approval, from the school board. At Thursday’s meeting, Trustees Danielle Ford and Linda Young were particularly vocal in their criticisms, each calling for a reversal of the superintendent’s decision. “This is a budget item, and for a budget item, you’ve got to have checks and balances,” Young said. Ford suggested that the board vote to reinstate dean positions and bring forth other agenda items “very soon” to address necessary budget cuts and disciplinary positions in schools, despite advice from the board’s legal counsel that this would violate the board’s own policies. “I’m going to support overturning the decision, and if I’m just the only one, then you can please send my opinion to my lawyer,” Ford said. While Ford and Young’s comments received widespread applause from deans and administrators in the room, they were unpopular with another group: Teachers and, specifically, members of the Clark County Education Association. Several teachers urged the board to uphold the superintendent’s decision, arguing that it would have a smaller direct impact on students than other potential cost-cutting measures. They also reminded board members of their promise to strike at the start of the 2019 school year if the district were to cut any existing classroom services. “We finally have a superintendent who’s trying to change the focus and culture of this district from being administrator-centered to student-centered,” said Jim Frazee, teacher and CCEA board member. “The right choice and the only choice is supporting the superintendent.” Comments from CCEA members were met with sounds of disapproval from CCASA members, and CCEA members showed similar contempt when Ford and Young suggested not cutting the deans. Some in the room lamented that the divide between the educators’ unions was misguided and said blame should be placed on the Nevada Legislature for underfunding education for years. Although the Legislature succeeded in overhauling Nevada’s 50-year-old education funding formula this past session, Clark County will still face some of the highest class sizes in the nation this school year. “This is not the time for us to be fighting against each other,” said Yvette Williams, chair of the Clark County Black Caucus. “We all know why we’re here today. We didn’t get enough funds.”

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

President makes wildfires worse Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

President Donald Trump recently announced that he wants to cut off aid to California for fighting the historically widespread wildfires which are devastating the state. He attributes this horrific disaster to California’s supposedly poor forest...

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Welcome to the week we’ve all been waiting for. The annual meeting between Alabama and LSU is always good bet to be one of the biggest games of the year, but the excitement is amplified this year. Both teams are sitting in the top two slots of the AP...

Horse racing is animal abuse Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

How many more race horses have to die before people admit that this is an abusive industry? You have to look beyond the grandstands and at the many deaths, not just on the tracks but also those either killed because they weren’t fast enough or worse,...

Nation needs a new direction Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

What I am seeing in this country is making my stomach turn. So-called evangelicals seem to be trying to turn this country into a theocracy. The rhetoric coming out of the White House has divided this country more than at any time in my 85 years. We have...

President’s trade wars are hurting our farmers Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A handful of landmark laws have indelibly changed our nation’s history. Some, like the Civil Rights Act and the GI Bill, for the good; others, not so much. Alarmingly, we are seeing one of the more harmful laws rising from the dead today. Back in June...

Humanitarian crisis at the border is a concern for states as much as feds Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

State and local officials can and should play an important role in addressing the humanitarian crisis that is America’s treatment of immigrant detainees. So writes John Hudak of the Brookings Institution in an insightful paper that should be required...

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

RENO — Conservationists are raising concerns about an expansion plan at a southern Nevada ski resort they say overlaps with habitat for an endangered butterfly. The plans include miles of new mountain biking, skiing and hiking trails along with a zip...

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Though the constant coverage and the mammoth field of Democratic candidates may make the 2020 election seem like it’s around the corner, there is about a year before President Donald Trump and the Democratic challenger face off. For Nevadans, there are ...

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Lady Gaga was forced to cancel an “Enigma” residency show this week due to illness, but she’s scheduled to return to the Park Theater stage Friday and Saturday to wrap up her current run. Here are some other highly anticipated superstar...

Posted Friday, 08 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Welcome to the latest installment of “Take a Lap with Mike Grimala,” a video interview series that we hope becomes a regular trip to the fun side of UNLV sports. The concept is simple: We invite a UNLV athlete, coach or sports personality to hop in...

Prosecutors charge man with hate crime in acid attack Posted Thursday, 07 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

MILWAUKEE — A 61-year-old white Milwaukee man accused of throwing acid on a Hispanic man's face will be charged with a hate crime, increasing the possible sentence he may receive if convicted, prosecutors announced Wednesday. Prosecutors filed one...

Posted Thursday, 07 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

NEW YORK — A few fun facts about Kanye West: He's running for president in 2024, he recited color psychology to wife Kim Kardashian West as she sat in a morning bath Thursday, and he was fired at 16 for shoplifting at the Gap where he worked. West,...

'A campaign of slander': Takeaways from impeachment witness Posted Thursday, 07 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — A senior State Department official offered some of the most pointed testimony to date in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, alleging that President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani led a "campaign of slander" against the U.S....

Hopes rise that lifting tariffs could allow U.S.-China accord Posted Thursday, 07 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

BEIJING — The prospects for a preliminary breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade war improved Thursday after the two sides agreed to reduce some punitive tariffs on each other's goods, though the full extent of the rollback wasn't clear. A Chinese...

Michael Bloomberg opens door to 2020 presidential campaign Posted Thursday, 07 November 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, signaling his dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump....