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School cuts an unpleasant surprise in Summerlin area

As the Clark County School District struggles with a budget shortfall of up to $80 million, surprised Summerlin-area parents wonder how it happened and what it means.

View caught up with some of them outside Cimarron-Memorial High after classes let out Sept. 5.

“My kids are in the academies: computer science and engineering academy,” said Juan Diaz, “so hopefully they’re not going to cut the academies and things like that for the high schools. It’s my son’s senior year, but my daughter is a freshman. So, we may have to look at possibly looking moving her to (a private) school.”

Maria Ortiz, whose daughter is a senior, said she’d thought the school was well-funded until she heard the news.

“It’s expensive if I enroll her in cheerleading or basketball or something like that,” Ortiz said. “I’m not really happy with the school because they put in all these (requirements for graduation). … If they cut the money, it would be really bad.”

Principal Lori Sarabyn addressed the shortfallprincipal spoke at the school’s open house, also Sept. 5. She began with good news, stating that graduation rates have risen in each of the past five years — from 51 percent before she took over to 62 percent, then 73 percent, 76 percent and 82 percent.

“I imagine most of you have been hearing about the budget problems with the Clark County School District,” Sarabyn told at least 200 attendees. “While I am puzzled about the magnitude of the deficit, please know that we are fortunate that we are a school that was identified to have additional funding from Senate Bill 178.”

That bill, passed in the most recent legislative session, implements a weighted-funding formula statewide. It allocates funding for underperforming students who are either English-language learners or are considered at risk and attend the state’s lowest-rated schools.

“This additional funding was supposed to allow us to have extra money for some great new programs and to be able to do some things that we normally would not be able to afford to do,” Sarabyn said, adding that “we’re not going to have to worry about just running the school like we’ve been able to run it the the last few years. In other words, we can buy paper. We can buy pencils.”

Sarabyn declined an interview request.

Back outside Cimarron-Memorial, Griselda Delgado said she has two sons, an 11th-grader and a ninth-grader, in the Air Force ROTC at the school.

“As far as I know, they don’t have much of a budget for ROTC,” she said. “Cimarron has been really great with their money, as far as I know. My older son has been in the engineering program for two years and before that, I don’t think they offered it. I’m hoping it doesn’t get cut.”

There are 2,655 students at Cimarron-Memorial. It has 23 varsity sports teams, and extracircular activities include the book club, French club, chess club, Polynesian dance, theater and choir.

Delgado’s younger son Daniel, 14, said he has heard teachers express frustration about funding shortfalls before.

“So I thought whatever the school needs to cut back on, it’s OK with me I guess,” he said. “In ROTC, I mean, we do a lot of fundraisers.”

Contact Jan Hogan at jhogan@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2949.

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