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Head of Nevada charter school authority submits resignation

Updated November 2, 2018 - 7:58 pm

The executive director of the State Public Charter School Authority will resign before the end of the year after serving over four years in the position, he announced in a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday.

Patrick Gavin, whom Sandoval appointed in 2014, works with the authority’s seven board members to oversee and approve state-sponsored charter schools.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and the children of Nevada for the past four and a half years,” Gavin said in the letter. “I am deeply grateful for the support that you and your administration have given to me professionally, to the State Public Charter School Authority and to public education in Nevada.”

Gavin’s resignation will be effective Dec. 28.

Authority Chairman Jason Guinasso said he wishes Gavin well in his future endeavors.

“I appreciate all of his contributions since I’ve been on the board and his commitment to academic excellence, and to accountability and diversity in our portfolio,” Guinasso said.

Gavin said he had been contemplating the change for a while, but he would very much like to stay in Nevada.

“I think this is an amazing state with amazing people and with so much potential to really do transformative work,” he said. “And I would love to continue to contribute to that.”

The resignation comes after the authority had issues with the Interim Finance Committee, which administers a contingency fund set up to provide provisional money to state agencies when the Legislature is not in session. The committee took issue with the charter authority failing to conduct evaluative site visits, even though the 2017 Legislature approved four new positions for the agency.

“It’s unconscionable that this has not moved along more expeditiously than it is, because there’s ramifications,” state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, told an authority staff member at the committee’s meeting last week. “I’m assuming you are aware, and the board is aware, that there are ramifications if these evaluative site visits are not done.”

The committee has since requested a range of information from the authority, including whether the newly approved positions will conduct site visits.

Guinasso said in a meeting of the charter authority Friday that the board did not have any knowledge of a Sept. 29, 2017, letter sent to Gavin that confirmed the Legislature’s approval of the four new positions and requested semiannual reports on its progress in a number of administrative matters, including reviewing charter applications and conducting site visits.

“Even before that, this board never reviewed the budget that was submitted to the Legislature for approval, and so to get this information as late as we did was difficult,” Guinasso said at the meeting. “But I want to make it clear for my fellow board members, and for the public watching and for the Legislature, to let them know that we are fully accountable.”

Guinasso said the authority will take immediate steps to address each and every concern the committee has articulated.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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