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Outgoing CCSD superintendent talks marijuana money and striving for student success

Posted: 5:26 PM, May 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 16:56:26-05

The last day of school for students marks the final countdown for CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky who's retiring in June with a mixed report card.

Darcy Spears sat down with Skorkowsky today and talked about the successes and failures in his five years at the helm of the Clark County School District.  

When asked about the budget crisis and contentious relationship with teacher and administrator unions, he replied, "That's not the way I would have liked for them to be. I've said this over and over again to anybody that will listen. If we can get past the adult issues and focus on what's best for the student and how can we all get to what's best for the student, then we're gonna win, but right now we're all fighting each other."

The highlight of Skorkowsky's superintendent career, "Probably has to be the academic success that we've seen over the past five years--graduation rate, advanced placement, magnet school distinctions."

Despite that, the chance of success for Nevada students was recently ranked last in the nation.

"There are 13 factors that go into that," Skorkowsky said. "Seven of those factors are outside of school. If you look at the six academic factors, we're ranked 38th in the nation. Not great, but not horrible either, not 51st."

Massachusetts ranks number one in the nation for education. What do they do that we don't?  

"Well, first of all, Massachusetts funds at twice the amount that we do."

Speaking of funding, we all expected a financial windfall from marijuana taxes, but money didn't flow as many expected.  

It went into an account that pays every county in the state a per-pupil expenditure, meaning even though most marijuana money is made in Clark County, it doesn't all stay here.

"Once that money went in, there still was a finite amount of money in the state, and so some of the other funds that were previously used in education went instead to help fund prisons or health and human services or wherever. So we didn't see the large bump that everybody anticipated."

Skorkowsky says legislators in the 2019 session need to change that, adding our district needs to be run more like big business.

"I've got an amazing chief financial officer who's coming in from business--from corporate world--who is helping us re-think everything. And so in three years, he's going to have this district in an amazing place, but, it didn't happen soon enough."

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