It’s curtains for some school classes

Durango High School students gave a spring performance of Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but they’re expecting next year to be a tragedy.

Because of budget cuts, Durango Principal Mark Gums has decided to stop offering theater classes and turn drama into an after-school club or extracurricular activity.

Junior Joshua Nadler, 17, thinks his principal has effectively drawn the curtains on the theater program at Durango, 7100 W. Dewey Drive near Rainbow Boulevard and Hacienda Drive.

“I think the seniors next year will produce one or two more plays,” Nadler said. “After that it will diminish. There will be no more formal instruction.”

Many principals are being forced to make unpopular decisions as the Clark County School District tries to manage a $120 million budget gap for next year, officials said. Spring Valley High School near Chinatown is dropping a Chinese class.

The School Board is scheduled to meet today to adopt a $2.1 billion tentative budget for 2009-10.

“No one is happy about these cuts,” said Michael Rodriguez, a district spokesman. “We understand why parents and students are angry. These weren’t easy decisions to make.”

Alyse Kurley, 16, a junior, said the theater department had become a “safe house” in these “stressful times.”

“Many students in Las Vegas are suffering because their parents have lost their homes and their jobs,” Kurley said. “The theater department at Durango High School is like a second home for us students.”

Kurley, who has performed “Cinderella” for elementary school children, added, “The stage has taught us many things like public speaking, confidence, self-esteem and much, much more.”

Because students are having to pick their classes for next year, they’re becoming aware of the impact of budget cuts when they see that popular classes have been eliminated.

Principals have been forced to plan reductions because of a district mandate to staff their schools at 97 percent of what their enrollments would normally require.

Because block scheduling also has been eliminated, schools such as Durango and Spring Valley have had to cut 13 to 15 teaching positions each since they’re losing instruction time. Their school day is going from an eight-period day to a six-period day.

Rodriguez estimated that 15 high schools in Clark County this year offered block scheduling, which gives students longer class periods and the chance to enroll in extra courses.

The School Board decided to eliminate block scheduling to save costs.

Bob Gerye, principal at Spring Valley High School, 3750 S. Buffalo Drive near Spring Mountain Road, was apologetic in announcing on his school Web site that some classes in choir, theater and Chinese had to be cut because the school was losing “15 outstanding educators” next year.

“In my 35 years in education, I have never seen or had to endure such draconian cuts in education. These will affect our children and our grandchildren for years and years to come,” Gerye said.

Gerye also put a plea on his Web site for donations such as office supplies and toilet paper.

Principals are limited in what they can cut because of state mandates requiring core classes such as English and math.

Even those who understand the need for cuts don’t understand how they’re being made.

Gums, the principal at Durango High, has come under criticism for eliminating theater but keeping choir and band.

Debi Nadler, a mother, said she doesn’t want to see the other performing arts cut but can’t understand why some compromises weren’t made to save theater.

Gums did not return calls to the Review-Journal, but Rodriguez said he understood that Gums had to make a staffing decision. Gums also thought that choir and band were important for school functions, Rodriguez said.

“This wasn’t an arbitrary decision,” Rodriguez said.

Cerina Vincent, a member of the Durango class of 1997, has made a living playing the yellow Power Ranger in a superhero TV series and a “scream queen” in slasher movies such as “Cabin Fever.” She recently appeared in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”

Vincent, 30, said performing in a Durango production of “The Sound of Music,” in which she sang “I’m 16 Going on 17,” helped give her the self-confidence to succeed in Hollywood.

She is pleading with the principal to save theater.

“Las Vegas is a tough city to grow up in,” Vincent said of her hometown. “I think it’s going to be more difficult now.”

Contact reporter James Haug at or 702-374-7917.

Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like