LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The fallout to the Clark County School District’s decision to cut middle and high school deans to make up for a budget shortfall continued Thursday night. Parents, teachers and other school administrators packed the board of trustees meeting; many of them blasting the board and asking trustees to reverse the decision.
"Hear us now!"
A woman who said she was speaking as both a parent and an educator gave an emotional speech to trustees during the public comment period.
Her feelings were the prevailing sentiment at the crowded meeting of the CCSD Board of Trustees. Four days after Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara announced 170 dean positions at middle and high schools would be slashed to cover a budget shortfall anger over the decision reached fever pitch. There are concerns student safety is at risk with the elimination of an administrative position focusing on students and discipline issues.
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"It's the deans and you're going to take that away? How dare you? How dare you? Everybody who voted for this should be ashamed,” the same woman shouted. “Shame on you!"
Dr. Jara. who made the announcement in a video posted on the district’s website began the meeting with a prepared statement and an apology.
"I made a calculated decision and obviously it didn't go as planned,” Dr. Jara said. “So, to you and everyone here I'm sorry. And to this community and to our board I will do better in communication when we are talking about our dedicated staff."
The apology coming after a stinging no confidence vote by the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees. The group's executive director said the the group plans to file a complaint with the state for an open meeting law violation since the dean decision was made in a closed session.
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President David Wilson also pushed back against the notion that only a minority of principals and administrators backed the vote.
"It wasn’t just 72 principals in the room when we were taking the vote of no confidence,” Wilson said, “It's hundreds of administrators that currently have no confidence."
There were a few speakers who said they still support the superintendent and his vision.
"I don’t believe for a second that the first superintendent to say publicly that 20 percent of our kids are afraid to come to school and we need to do something about that is just going to leave the schools high and dry,” said Jim Frazee, a teacher who also sits on the executive board of the Clark County Education Association.
During the meeting Dr. Jara reiterated that the reduction in staff is needed because CCSD is receiving approximately $154 million of the needed $166 million additional dollars needed for the 2019-20 school year. The district said schools will be receiving additional funds for school safety and for unfilled positions in the coming year.