Issues raised by the state-mandated reorganization of the Clark County School District may be addressed through new regulations by the state Department of Education, Nevada’s top education official said Thursday.
An Oct. 26 workshop will address some of the issues that have cropped up in the first year of the reorganization mandated by the Nevada Legislature. The restructuring was aimed at pushing more decision-making into the hands of principals and school communities in an effort to increase student achievement.
Under the law, State Superintendent of Instruction Steve Canavero has the power to determine if Clark County is following its provisions. Canavero said he hopes the regulation process will provide further guidance on certain issues and help clear up disagreements over the law’s implementation, such as an ongoing legal battle between the district and the city of Mesquite over funding for rural schools.
“There are some nuances there that are real, and so with working with CCSD, we found it a smart move to define small and rural schools,” Canavero said.
Some of the other issues Canavero hopes to address through regulation include:
— Providing a safe and respectful environment for members of the state-mandated school organizational teams. Some team members have voiced concerns that they might be retaliated against for raising ideas and concerns during meetings.
— Further defining the areas principals have control over once they’ve been allocated money from the school district.
— Better defining what “small” and “rural” schools are. The city of Mesquite has already sued the Clark County School District over how the city has funded Mesquite’s rural schools, saying the district is violating a provision of the reorganization law.
— Clarifying the timeline in which schools should get their budgets from the administration.
— Establishing service-level agreements between schools and the administration. Canavero said schools should know exactly what services from the central administration cost and what they’re getting for their money.
“This is by no means the end of the regulatory discussion,” Canavero said, adding that other issues may come up during the workshop.
The proposed regulations won’t address one of the district’s biggest concerns about the reorganization process, which is money. The district is facing a budget shortfall between $50 million and $60 million and has said the reorganization has been part of the problem.
But changing the funding formula would require amendments to a separate law. The proposals Canavero wants to work into regulations would accompany the reorganization law.