Thanks to voter-imposed term limits, the seven-member Clark County School Board will feature at least three new faces next year — and that’s good. The district, now the fifth-largest in the nation and suffering from the usual pathologies, including dismal test scores, is in dire need of reform, which will require new blood on its governing body.
In District A, Deanna Wright, a local housewife, faces Edward Goldman, a longtime district administrator who will retire if elected.
Ms. Wright has the backing of the local education establishment, but was embarrassed when she discovered her Web site contained numerous grammatical errors and misspellings. That did not inspire confidence in her candidacy.
Mr. Goldman, meanwhile, has been a thorn in the side of the local teachers union for some time and says the current board has "no clue" as to what is really going on. He favors breaking up the massive district, granting merit pay to good teachers and more aggressively overseeing district administration.
Mr. Goldman, with his extensive knowledge of the district’s inner workings, might provide the board a much-needed jolt. We recommend a vote for Edward Goldman.
In District B, Ron Taylor a teacher at Leavitt Middle School, faces Chris Garvey, a dental hygienist. Mr. Taylor has been a vocal critic of school administration and says the district has too cozy a relationship with the teachers union. He understands the district is failing to "put out a good product" and has some interesting ideas on education reform. But if elected, he vows to continue in the classroom, creating an obvious conflict and ignoring separation of powers concerns.
Ms. Garvey has lived in Las Vegas for almost 20 years and has three children who have attending the local public schools. She has been active in the PTA and has a good grasp of the issues. But Ms. Garvey’s agenda is woefully devoid of any serious change, outside a big increase in education funding. She would likely be a rubber stamp for the status quo.
We offer no endorsement in District B.
Voters in District C have a choice between Ronan Matthew, a retired English teacher who also served as principal at Canyon Springs High School, and Linda Young, the district’s director of "equity and diversity education."
The choice here is clear. Mr. Matthew’s first priority would be to "increase academic achievement" because "that’s why schools exist." He says too many kids are being put into special education and argues the district is simply too big to function properly. He would strive to get rid of bad teachers and reward good ones.
Mr. Matthew favors giving parents more choices as to where their children attend school, ensuring a safe environment in district schools and holding students accountable for their choices.
Ronan Matthew would be a breath of fresh air on the School Board.
Incumbent Terri Janison has drawn challenger John W. Schutt Jr., a Metro police officer, in District E.
The underfunded Mr. Schutt has run a low-profile campaign, but seems genuinely interested in tackling the district’s problems, vowing to focus "on math and reading" and to bring a "new philosophy" to the board rather than "more of the same."
Ms. Janison has been a vocal supporter of empowerment schools. She is open to merit pay and favors granting individual principals more autonomy. While her three years on the board haven’t been characterized by any bold initiatives, she has been a passionate, accessible advocate for the kids in her district.
Mr. Schutt has promise, but we urge a vote for Terri Janison in District E.