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Henderson, North Las Vegas ask judge to restore power to nonvoting CCSD board members

Updated March 22, 2024 - 1:50 pm

The cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas have asked a judge to restore power to four new nonvoting members on the Clark County School Board.

A petition filed Monday alleges that the school board is violating Assembly Bill 175, which was passed in June and created four new nonvoting positions on the school board, appointed by Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. In January, the school board changed its policies to prevent nonvoting members from making motions or asking for previous decision to be reconsidered at board meetings.

“The Board is exceeding its authority and violating clear Nevada law by restricting the powers of the nonvoting trustees beyond the limits established in AB 175,” the petition stated.

A spokesperson for the school district said Friday that the Board of Trustees does not comment on pending litigation.

The petition argued that the bill ensures that nonvoting members have “the same rights and responsibilities as voting members.” Because the school board is given power by the Legislature, the body has no authority to “override or interfere” with the bill, according to the petition.

The school board has been vocal in its opposition to Assembly Bill 175, but drew criticism that the board’s policy changes would stifle the nonvoting members voices. During the legislative session, the district argued that the bill was a non-evidence based board structure that put power struggles ahead of children’s needs.

During a Jan. 11 school board meeting, Ramona Esparza-Stoffregan, Henderson’s representative on the board, tried to make a motion to prevent board members from immediately voting on the policy change. According to the petition, Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales did not recognize Esparza-Stoffregan, and she “called for a vote without any discussion or deliberation by the Board.”

In two January school board meetings during which the policy change was discussed, nonvoting members were “given no opportunity to address their concerns with the Board or make a motion to deny or modify the amendments,” the petition stated.

Groups in support of Assembly Bill 175 have argued that appointed members could bring expertise and professionalism to the board, following years of contentious meetings. The bill applies to district with more than 75,000 students, which means only Clark County was affected.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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