When the time came to pick a president for 2014, the Clark County School Board nominated two members currently under state investigation for allegations of using taxpayer resources to campaign in an election, which is prohibited by Nevada law.
Board members Deanna Wright and Erin Cranor received nominations from the seven-member board on Wednesday, with Cranor becoming president in a 6-1 vote.
Before voting, a couple of board members noted the public’s distrust of the School Board, which needs to be addressed by the new president.
“People do not have a lot of confidence in us as a board,” said board member Linda Young, who backed Cranor but first wanted to ask a question. “How do we engage our constituents so they can trust us?”
The vote against Cranor came from outgoing President Carolyn Edwards, who last year was investigated by the Nevada Commission on Ethics, which now has its eyes on Cranor and Wright. The commission found that Edwards broke the law in 2012 by directing a district employee to send an email blast seeking volunteers to “distribute door hangers and yard signs to registered voters encouraging them to support Question 2,” according to a Nov. 20 settlement that resulted in no punishment for Edwards.
Wright and Cranor face similar accusations for sending emails through district staff in the 2012 general election, also for campaigning for Question 2. The ballot question, proposed by Clark County School District, would have increased property taxes by 21 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, generating an estimated $669 million over six years for school improvements and construction. It failed after 66 percent of voters rejected it.
According to evidence provided in the complaints, Wright’s message was mass emailed by district office supervisor Loreasa Nary, and Cranor’s email was sent by secretary Norma Herrera. Nary earned a base salary of $40,000 from the district, and Herrera earned a $56,000 base salary.
Like Young, board member Patrice Tew noted the School Board’s “credibility issue,” especially pertaining to spending by the district, the fifth largest in the nation. A constituent questions her about district spending at least once a day, she said.
Cranor acknowledged that there are “a lot of questions” about the state of the district.
“But I see this as a transformative year,” Cranor said.
Cranor then nominated Wright for clerk, but Wright declined.
“I appreciate that, but I don’t want to hog the clerk seat,” responded Wright, who has been clerk twice and was vice president in 2013.
The board named Young vice president and Tew clerk in unanimous votes.
Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0279.