School Board's Janison focus of ethics filing

Ken Small, a candidate for the Clark County School Board, has filed an ethics complaint accusing School Board President Terri Janison of participating in the superintendent's search in spite of a conflict of interest.

Janison's husband, Kevin Janison, is the weatherman at KVBC, the local NBC affiliate. The station's owner, Jim Rogers, has written a letter to Terri Janison expressing his interest in becoming the superintendent of the Clark County School District.

Rogers is the former chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. He has offered to work for free as either an interim or permanent successor to Superintendent Walt Rulffes, who is retiring Aug. 31.

Small considers himself a supporter of Rogers, but Small said he is troubled by the failure of district officials to follow the law. Small said he is very familiar with district "shenanigans" as an architect who has designed many school buildings. He is running against Carolyn Edwards for School Board Seat F, representing southwestern Clark County.

School Board President Terri Janison called his complaint "sad" and said Small is getting ahead of himself.

She said she won't know whether Rogers is a finalist for the job until the candidates are vetted by the search firm of McPherson and Jacobson.

The firm is expected to give the school board a short list of finalists sometime in September. The goal is to appoint a superintendent in October.

"I don't know if he (Jim Rogers) has submitted (an application) to McPherson and Jacobson," Janison said. "I won't know unless he makes it as a finalist."

She added that the board "hired the search firm to avoid these conflicts of interests."

Mark Wood, a chief deputy district attorney who advises the School Board, declined comment because he had not seen Small's complaint.

Small said the board will be setting guidelines for the search firm that will determine who the next superintendent will be.

In his complaint the Nevada Commission on Ethics, Small cites Nevada Revised Statute 281A.420, which says public officials should abstain from voting their conflict if they have a "pecuniary interest" or financial gain in a particular issue.

"At the absolute minimum, she should be disclosing (her conflict) every time they make a decision," Small added.

Janison should have started making the disclosures as early as April when a citizens group called "No Parent Left Behind" presented the board with a petition asking for Rogers' appointment, he said.

"At that point, she should have stepped away from it completely," Small said.

On Thursday, School Board members Sheila Moulton and Deanna Wright disclosed family relationships before voting to ratify union contracts for teachers, administrators and support staff. Moulton said she has children who work as teachers in the school system.

Wright said her husband is a member of the support staff. According to district records, her husband, Jason Wright, makes about $22,000 as a Clerk 1 typist at Coronado High School in Henderson.