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Demand grows for more Black voices within the Clark County School District

CCSD STUDENT IN CLASS
Posted at 4:46 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 21:36:52-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Members of the Black community say they need to have better representation within the Clark County School District.

The Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators aims to make CCSD reflective of the community.

Kamilah Bywaters, president of the group, says having more Black educators and administrators makes a difference for Black students.

“You can be in this position as well one day. You can be a principal, you can be a superintendent," Bywaters said. "You can be who I am.”

RELATED: Online forum discusses Black student disparities in CCSD education

Numbers from CCSD show about 140 Black employees in administrative roles compared to about 930 white employees. Black employees also only make up about 8% of the school district's licensed personnel which includes teachers and other specialists.

Black students make up 14% of the district.

Bywaters says pathways to leadership for Black educators are needed.

“Identify and recruit Black administrators and also identify and recruit Black teachers and build a pipeline for them,” she said.

Former CCSD principal Alfred George Gourrier says the push doesn’t just help the Black community, but all communities of color. He says they need to be part of the decision-making process, especially with around a billion dollars coming to the school district from federal stimulus money.

“What is needed is more community parental involvement in the governance of our schools,” said Gourrier.

RELATED: Parents demand answers after racist threats at Arbor View HS

Rebecca Garcia, president of the Nevada PTA, says she supports more diverse staff within CCSD.

“In ensuring that we have diverse staff," she said, "[it] helps ensure that diversity of lived experiences is also brought into the classroom."

Bywaters says the LVABSE's next step is to play a bigger role on education committees that make decisions on CCSD funding and pushing state legislators for more equitable education policies.

“We can provide a perspective that is not being elevated at this time,” she said.

The group is also calling for Supt. Dr. Jesus Jara’s contract to not be renewed, saying he hasn’t adequately addressed their concerns.

13 Action News reached out to CCSD for comment on all of this, but their offices were closed Friday for spring break.