Concerns that the Clark County School Board has obstructed a mandated district overhaul has led to a flurry of accusations that trustees are violating the law passed to implement the process.
State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, who leads the Advisory Committee overseeing the Clark County School District reorganization, sent a letter to trustees Tuesday criticizing them for not following the law.
“To the extent the Board is trying to impede others from complying with the regulations and is taking actions to prevent the regulations from being carried out, the Board is violating the law,” his letter stated.
The letter came a day before trustees plan to discuss a proposal to hire a representative to address all matters relating to the reorganization and another controversial state initiative, the Achievement School District. The proposal would essentially remove Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky from the implementation process and shift his focus elsewhere.
Some view the proposal as an active effort to block the reorganization, which would shift the district to a school-empowerment model by 2017.
Trustees, however, maintain that they’re working on the reorganization and have concerns they want addressed.
In his letter to the board, Roberson said he had hoped the trustees would collaborate with the Community Implementation Council and the hired TSC2 Group consultant that reports to it.
“Instead, I have received reports that the Superintendent is being stripped of his ability to work on anything related to the reorganization and that various other roadblocks have been put in place to prevent the plan and recommendations of the Advisory Committee from being carried out in accordance with the regulation adopted by the State Board of Education,” Roberson wrote.
In a letter to the implementation council that he serves as chairman, Glenn Christenson also said several trustees have “repeatedly expressed opposition” to the work of the council and TSC2 Group.
“That opposition includes putting up several roadblocks that have made it very difficult for employees of the School District to work cooperatively with the Consulting Team and the CIC to get AB394 implemented,” Christenson wrote. “To date, the Consulting Team has not been able to do the full analysis that was requested by our Council at our first meeting on October 26, 2016, in the way they had planned.”
The reorganization hasn’t gone smoothly for the district, which has expressed a number of concerns over the law’s regulations.
Trustees outlined those concerns in a Nov. 9 petition to the State Board of Education in which they asked the board to reopen the regulation-making process to address the problems. The state board has not yet responded to the request.
One concern includes the accelerated timeline for the reorganization, which originally was targeted for the 2018-19 school year.
The petition states that the Advisory Committee revised the deadline to 2017-18 in discussions “that were neither noticed nor open to the public.”
The board also expressed concerns with funding issues — the law requires 85 percent of the budget to eventually be restricted to schools — and student equity.
Trustees also took issue when the advisory committee hired the TSC2 Group as consultant for up to $1.2 million, payment of which falls to the school district.
Roberson said in an interview that he doesn’t anticipate the State Board of Education will open up the regulations for discussions again.
“I’m not going to relitigate these issues with the school board,” he said. “This is the law. They may not like the law, but they’re required to follow the law.”
Trustees also will discuss on Thursday a motion to remove District G Trustee Erin Cranor from her seat on the Community Implementation Council.
District F Trustee Carolyn Edwards said the board isn’t hindering the process.
“Work is being done; it’s not like we’re at a standstill, but the board still has some concerns,” she said. “We can move work forward at the same time that we talk about concerns; they’re not mutually exclusive.”
Board President Linda Young said the proposal, which will be discussed in board meetings Wednesday and Thursday, is meant to be supportive and not obstructive.
“We teach our students to do critical thinking and to do problem-solving and to do collaboration,” she said. “And then when the trustees attempt to do that, then it takes on a negative tone, and that’s unfortunate. We’re not doing that at all.”
Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at 702-383-4630 or email@example.com. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.