School Board's newcomers face baptism by fire

Carolyn Edwards, who with four years of experience is the most senior member of the Clark County School Board, hopes to become the board's next president at an organizational meeting Wednesday .

"I don't know if anyone else is interested, but the fact is, I am the most senior member of the board at this point. We're going to be a very young, new board."

Freshman board member Lorraine Alderman said Edwards "seems like the most logical choice. She's going to be the veteran."

On the seven-member board, Alderman and Erin Cranor have no experience as elected officials. Chris Garvey, Deanna Wright and Linda Young have two years of experience. The seat left vacant by the resignation of board member Terri Janison has yet to be filled.

With a financial crisis looming as the district heads into a state legislative session where funding is expected to be significantly cut, the learning curve for new members will be short. The Clark County School District anticipates a funding shortfall of $150 million for the 2011-12 school year.

The new board also must learn to work with a new superintendent, Dwight Jones, chosen to succeed Walt Rulffes.

"It will be different," Edwards said. "I don't think there will be any sudden changes, but I think there will be some changes coming. "

Jones has pledged to "do an assessment" before he institutes any organizational changes, Edwards said.

The board will function with only six members until it chooses a successor for Janison, who represented District E in northwest Clark County and was the board's president.

The district is taking applications until Jan. 10 for someone to fill the remaining two years of Janison's term. On Jan. 20, the School Board will interview applicants and possibly appoint a successor.

Alderman, Cranor and Edwards will take their oaths of office today . Alderman, a retired teacher and district administrator, chose U.S. District Judge Philip Pro to administer her oath.

Edwards will be sworn in by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Johnnie Rawlinson, a former attorney for the board. Cranor, a longtime volunteer on district committees, will be sworn in by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lloyd D. George.