The Nevada Department of Education is going to work with the Clark County School District on a joint “implementation plan” to bring the nation’s fifth-largest public school system into compliance with a state-mandated reorganization.
“Work remains to be compliant with the law,” State Superintendent Steve Canavero said Thursday on a conference call in which state and district officials participated. “We have gotten so much further … when we put our heads together.”
The finding that the district was not in compliance with the law, often referred to by its bill number, AB 469, wasn’t unexpected. At a meeting in December to discuss the reorganization, Canavero said he expected the district would be determined to be out of compliance with the law in January and that he expected to issue a corrective action plan at that time.
But on Thursday, Canavero said the plan will be better if they work on it together.
Canavero said he would send a formal letter to Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky on Friday. A copy of the letter was not immediately available.
Skorwkosky and the local School Board President Deanna Wright both praised the spirit of collaboration.
“I think it’s moving us in the right direction,” Wright said.
The reorganization of the district first came into law in 2015. But backlash in the interim over the process of creating regulations to carry out the law led to a bipartisan group of lawmakers coming together in the 2017 session to strengthen the measure.
The intent of the law was to move more decision-making and budgetary authority to individual school communities by putting more power into the hands of principals and creating school organizational teams as advisory committees.
Provisions in the law require 85 percent of the district’s total unrestricted funding to be available for schools in their individual budgets, called strategic budgets. The remaining 15 percent of the unrestricted funds can be used to support central services such as the superintendent’s office.
The law, gives Canavero authority to oversee the district’s implementation and compliance. Late last year, Canavero discussed issuing some type of corrective active plan to the district in January, which would have 30-60-90 day targets for the district to meet.
The implementation plan unveiled Thursday will include those 30-, 60- and 90-day targets, which will be created jointly by state and local officials. The implementation plan is expected to be finished and made public by March 15, officials said.
Already, the district has seen “significant changes” in the structure and organization of the district, Skorkowsky said. Central services offices, like transportation and food services, are working to create service-level agreements, similar to contracts, which will outline what schools can expect to receive at what price.
“All of these entities are reworking their model to be a fully customer service based model,” he said.
Down the road, schools may be able to purchase central services outside the school district, potentially at a lower cost. In 2018-19, however, schools will not be able to purchase any services outside the district.
The Board of Trustees voted down a pilot program in November that would have allowed a small group of schools to pilot a program beginning this year to work with outside vendors for custodial services. Opponents said they feared the impact the test might have on school district employees.