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EDITORIAL: Assembly votes 41-0 to punish the Clark County School District trustees

Members of the Clark County school board have been less than enthusiastic about legislative reforms passed two years ago that, among other things, decentralize the nation’s fifth largest district. Trustees have been openly defiant and even filed legal action in opposition.

At one point they even ordered the district superintendent to avoid meetings designed to seek public input concerning the proposed reform.

State lawmakers and education officials, in turn, have taken a dim view of the board’s obstruction, particularly given the district’s abysmal test scores. Legislators in Carson City have responded this session with a handful of measures intended to punish the trustees, the harshest of which would have made their positions appointed rather than elected.

That proposal is dead, but on Tuesday the Assembly voted 41-0 in favor of legislation clearly intended to send the trustees to the corner for their misbehavior. Assembly Bill 451 requires school board members to undergo at least six hours of “professional development” training during the first and third years of their four-year terms.

A little extra reading on the syllabus, if you will.

The legislation doesn’t specify who is to provide the training, but the instruction must include lessons pertaining to the state’s open meeting and public record laws, financial management, ethics and statutes relating to employment and contracts.

Trustees who ignore the new requirement will be subject to a public shaming, of sorts. The bill demands that the names of such offenders be posted “in a conspicuous manner” on the board’s website and that written notice of noncompliance be provided to the other trustees.

The bill now goes to the state Senate where it is likely to pass and be forwarded to the governor.

Make no mistake, this is an intentional rap on the knuckles of Clark County trustees who have pushed to preserve their power by undermining bipartisan educational reforms intended to boost student achievement and parental input by giving individual campuses more autonomy.

Whether piling on the homework will shock the rebellious board members into compliance remains to be seen. But if there was ever any doubt, the trustees now know who’s big man on campus.

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