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Politicking on Clark County school board makes for good show

Watching Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky confront the school board last week was like tuning into a soap opera.

One seemingly routine item on the meeting agenda proposed by District B Trustee Chris Garvey — to bring on a separate leader to oversee the district’s mandated reorganization — struck a nerve.

That boiled into accusations that certain trustees are trying to rip power from Skorkowsky and slow down the district-wide overhaul.

“This is crossing the boundary,” Skorkowsky told trustees, noting that the move would violate his contract.

District E Trustee Patrice Tew insisted that the idea was just a discussion, but the crowd chuckled as Tew referenced a “she” in referring to the consultant. Rumor had it that Caesars Entertainment Corp. executive Jan Jones Blackhurst was the person in mind for the role.

Lo and behold, the drama continues this week with another meeting to discuss having a mentor guide the trustees on legislative and other matters.

That mentor is Blackhurst.

The scheduled meeting surprised trustees Erin Cranor, Carolyn Edwards and Deanna Wright, making it clear that there’s a disconnect among the seven big bosses. Board President Linda Young also scheduled it for when Skorkowsky will be out of town, on a vacation planned months ago.


Certainly there’s something going on behind the scenes here that’s contributing to this distress. What a U-turn, it seems, from February, when the board unanimously voted to extend Skorkowsky’s contract.

So what happened between then and now to make things turn sour?

For one, Skorkowsky is stuck between a rock and a hard place with the reorganization law.

The law hasn’t been welcomed warmly by trustees, who have issues with regulations and a consultant for whom they must pay up to $1.2 million.

“I think I realize what I have to do under the law, and they have a different viewpoint,” Skorkowsky said.

Wright — who isn’t happy with Garvey and Young over the upcoming meeting — suggested that a few trustees are listening to conspiracy theories.

“Instead of having some discussion with the superintendent one on one and getting to the bottom of it, that’s been festering,” Wright said.

One theory is that state Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, is telling the superintendent he’ll make sure the board is appointed in the future, instead of elected, so that Skorkowsky can do his work.

Roberson has a bill draft request for the upcoming legislative session to revise provisions “relating to the board of trustees of certain school districts.” The language, however, hasn’t been drafted yet.

“I’m not going to respond to rumors or innuendo,” Roberson said. “I’m also not interested in being critical of the school board. I’ve made it clear to them in a public format that I want to work collaboratively with the school board.”

In the meantime, the rest of us can kick back and watch what unfolds at Monday’s meeting. Will Garvey, Young, Tew and District D Trustee Kevin Child form the majority needed to pass the idea?

You bring the drinks, and I’ll bring the popcorn.

On Education appears every other Saturday. Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at 702-383-4630 or apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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