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Clark County School Board to vote on $95K settlement with Jara

The Clark County School Board said Friday it had reached an agreement with Superintendent Jesus Jara to pay his attorney fees over his claims of a hostile work environment, following a turbulent year that included the superintendent’s firing and subsequent rehiring.

In a copy of the agreement posted Friday, the board said it will pay $95,000 to cover Jara’s attorney fees. The board is set to vote on the agreement on Thursday, its first board meeting of the school year.

Jara was hired in May 2018 at a salary of $320,000. His contract will expire in January 2023.

Last October, Jara met with trustees in a closed session to discuss the “hostile and abusive work environment he was experiencing,” according to board documents.

At a board meeting the same day, the board voted 4-3 to terminate his contract.

Four days after the vote, Jara told trustees he was awarding more than $400,000 in base salary increases to senior members of his executive cabinet. The following week, he informed the board that he was seeking $2 million to resolve allegations of harassment and retaliation against him, with his attorney specifically calling out Trustees Linda Cavazos, Danielle Ford and Lisa Guzman as the “primary perpetrators” of the alleged harassment.

Two weeks later, the board voted 4-3 to reinstate Jara as superintendent. Trustee Irene Cepeda, who now serves as board president, was the swing vote that ultimately decided Jara’s fate, voting first to fire him and then to rehire him.

The trustees met with Jara in mediation in February to resolve the claims, but that mediation was unsuccessful, according to board documents.

In a statement posted alongside Thursday’s agenda item, the trustees said they had hoped to proceed “collaboratively” with Jara so that they could focus on serving students and improving student outcomes.

“There is so much work to do, but if we focus on supporting our students, families, staff, and community, we are positive we will continue to move in the right direction together,” the statement read.

Contact Lorraine Longhi at 702-387-5298 or llonghi@reviewjournal.com. Follow her @lolonghi on Twitter.

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