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Sandoval’s signature makes CCSD reorganization official

The last piece is in place, and the reorganization of the fifth-largest school district in the country will continue uninterrupted this year.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 469 into law Monday, adding his stamp of approval to the measure brought forward by leaders of both parties of both houses.

The measure cements the 2015 law requiring the Clark County School District to decentralize and transfer more decision-making and budgetary power to principals and schools for the 2017-18 school year, which starts in August.

“It allows for more of a bottom-up process for the schools,” Sandoval said at the bill-signing ceremony. “Because no two schools are the same.”

Since the 2015 bill passed, legislators and school officials — most notably CCSD trustees — have clashed over the regulations, which more thoroughly detail how the law is supposed to be carried out. The bill this session writes the regulations into law, which lawmakers said would bring stability to the process.

Former Assemblyman David Gardner, the sponsor of the 2015 bill, drove to Carson City on Monday morning to see the new bill become law. He thanked the leadership team and the governor for working together to continue the process.

“Everybody acted in really good faith and we came up with a really good plan, and that’s how government is supposed to work,” he said. “Last session this was a fight, but they came together and gave this a shot, and that’s what I really appreciate.

Unfinished business

Although the bill was signed into law Monday, a trailer bill could come later this session. Such a bill could address lingering monetary concerns cited by school district officials, including a $17 million request for the state to fund a new human resource system.

“That is something that we are working on. It would be much easier on the implementation if we have this system,” Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said last week.

An ongoing legal dispute, temporarily put on hold while the bill worked through the system, might be dropped or dismissed by a judge now that the bill is signed. Last week, trustees said they did not anticipate any more litigation. Action on the lawsuit is likely to happen next week.

In the initial lawsuit, Clark County trustees contested the way the original regulation was created. The bill signed Monday replaces the 2015 law and the original regulation.

“Today, the Nevada Legislature and Governor Sandoval have reaffirmed their commitment to reorganizing the Clark County School District in order to increase the responsiveness of our schools to the communities that they serve,” State Superintendent of Instruction Steve Canavero said in a statement. “I can only hope that today’s action will result in the dismissal of the lawsuit filed by the CCSD Trustees to slow or eliminate this effort.”

The Clark County Education Association, the teacher’s union, said now that the reorganization is settled, the Legislature can focus on other education issues, including putting more money into the education system.

“Lawmakers have a tremendous opportunity to now take the next step and pass Senate Bill 178 to address equitable and adequate funding for at-risk students. With the recent positive projections from the Economic Forum, we remain hopeful that more progress for kids will be made,” John Vellardita, executive director, said in a statement.

Review-Journal Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley contributed to this report. Contact Meghin Delaney at mdelaney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

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