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‘Change or change will be coming’: School board’s dysfunction target of new law

Updated June 9, 2023 - 10:44 am

Clark County School District trustees Thursday passed a motion to research their options related to the implementation of a new law that will add four non-voting members to the board.

Along with the seven elected members, Assembly Bill 175 — which was signed by Gov. Joe Lombardo last week — will add four members appointed by Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson to the board.

“Before we move forward and implement legislation, I’d like to ask the board to support researching our options as it pertains to AB 175 to ensure that no harm comes to the children of our school district,” Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales said while introducing the motion.

Trustee Katie Williams asked Garcia Morales to clarify her motion before the board unanimously approved it.

No other trustees made comments about the motion or the law during the meeting.

During public comment, Jim Frazee, a teacher and vice president of the Clark County Education Association, said the law was not aimed at any individual trustees but at “this body’s inability it seems to manage its one employee,” referring to Superintendent Jesus Jara.

In October 2021 the board voted 4-3 to fire Jara, before reversing the decision less than a month later.

Last May, legislators asked for feedback from the community about potential changes to the way school board members are chosen, and an independent review of the district’s culture presented Wednesday found there was more work to be done to repair the board’s reputation for dysfunction.

“CCEA has said to this body many times: either change or change will be coming and change is now law,” Frazee said.

He said CCEA looks forward to working with the local municipalities to help appoint qualified board members.

AB 175 passed the Assembly in April with a 29-11 vote and was approved in the Senate by a 16-4 margin in May.

During a May 8 hearing, CCSD’s director of government relations Patricia Haddad told legislators that the district strongly opposes the bill.

The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for June 22 at 5 p.m.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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