A much-criticized timeline for selecting a new superintendent was modified by the Clark County School Board on Thursday by emphasizing that it's only a "sample timeline" to guide a search consultant.
Because the "sample timeline" has the School Board interviewing candidates by October and has the successor for Superintendent Walt Rulffes starting work as soon as Dec. 1, it was called frantic, unrealistic and a conspiracy to appoint a district insider.
Feelings were so intense that Board Vice President Carolyn Edwards pleaded with public speaker Kevinn Donovan, who is running for State Assembly, to "sit down (because) you're disrupting our meeting" after he went past his allotted time while the crowd hooted for him to continue.
"Excuse me, this is our board meeting," Edwards said.
"We're the public!" responded someone from the audience.
Donovan, who said his microphone was cut off, had stirred the crowd with his criticism of the district's executive staff and his calls for the board to immediately appoint former Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Jim Rogers as interim superintendent.
"He's a proven leader" and willing to do it for free, Donovan said about the wealthy philanthropist.
Andres Mendoza, who leads a group called "No Parents Left Behind," presented the board with 7,000 signatures in support of Rogers' appointment; about 20 people from the group also wore white T-shirts and held up signs in support of Rogers.
Edwards said the board might discuss appointing an interim superintendent in June when a consultant is selected to conduct the search. The board at that time should also get a better sense of how long the search will take.
Edwards, who is running for re-election, agreed with one of her challengers, Ken Small, that the board should insert the word "sample" into its request for proposals for consultants to conduct the superintendent search.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the request for proposals with School Board President Terri Janison absent. Rulffes has announced he's not extending his contract when it ends Aug. 30.
Candidates for the School Board have complained about being left out of the search process if the superintendent is selected before the Nov. 2 election, when three of the seven seats on the School Board will be determined.
With a competitive primary on June 8, candidates made good use of the podium during public comment.
Erin Cranor, a candidate for District G, warned about the potential for district staff to unfairly skew the selection process to exclude candidates for the selection consulting job.
Because the district is not advertising the selection criteria for choosing the consultant, there isn't anyway to reassure the taxpayers that the results are fair "unless the scoring, the weighting of differing criteria, is made public beforehand," Cranor said.
Tom Nacos, the district director of purchasing and warehousing, said "in the last 10 years, we have never advertised our rating criteria because sometimes it could paint you into a box."
"For instance, if I say, the emphasis on cost is over 20 percent (of the criteria), the firms focus so much on the other 80 percent that the costs come up exponentially."
Small, the candidate for District F, told the board Nacos' argument was "a typical red herring by staff to sell you a bill of goods."
He said the architectural community has had similar criticisms about how the district selects architects for projects.
Contact reporter James Haug at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-374-7917.