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VICTOR JOECKS: Speaker Yeager’s demand that Jara resign an attempt at distraction

Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and his caucus are under an ethical cloud. So he wants someone else to step down.

On Wednesday, Yeager called for the resignation of Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara. Yeager’s pronouncement came out of the blue. The biggest recent news regarding Assembly Democrats involved several of them voting their nonprofit employers tens of millions in government funding. The scandal is so bad that three Assembly Democrats decided not to seek re-election.

Assembly Democrats have a corruption problem, and the public knows about it. With encouragement from Gov. Joe Lombardo’s PAC, voters may conclude the problem is systemic. That might lead some swing voters to support Republican candidates.

Given that context, Yeager’s move appears to be a blatant attempt to change the subject. He couldn’t even muster more than a pile of clichés to justify his decision.

“Unfortunately, community leaders, parents, teachers and students no longer trust that Dr. Jara can get CCSD back on track,” Yeager wrote on X. “This moment in time cries out for a change in leadership to restore trust in CCSD and bring new and fresh ideas to public education in Southern Nevada.”

If Yeager actually believed this, it would have behooved him to act on his concerns earlier in the year. That’s because Yeager, the Legislature and Lombardo approved a $2+ billion increase in education funding this past session. Jara oversees the largest district in the state. CCSD probably will receive more than $1 billion of that money.

If you think Jara is doing a terrible job, you shouldn’t shower him and the organization he runs with cash. Yet, at the time, Yeager called that new funding “a massive win.”

Yes, Jara deserves plenty of criticism. Regular readers know I’ve given him plenty. His lax discipline and dumbed-down grading policies have been notable failures. But they aren’t new.

What has changed is Jara standing up to the Clark County Education Association. In 2019, he rolled over when the union threatened to strike. This year, Jara took the labor organization to court and won an injunction to stop the rolling sickouts. Jara is also moving to decertify the union.

There are plenty of reasons to believe Yeager doesn’t want that to happen. For one, the union gave his PAC $100,000 in 2022. It also doled out tens of thousands of dollars to other Assembly Democrats. If the union is decertified, those contributions are unlikely to continue.

Unintentionally, Yeager made a strong case for school choice. If rich parents lose trust in a private school superintendent, they can leave and send their children elsewhere. But most public school families don’t have the financial resources to leave their district school. Their children are stuck in failing schools, while adults bicker. Many don’t even have a full-time teacher.

If Yeager wants to help students, instead of simply deflecting attention from his corrupt caucus, he should come out in support of school choice.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 7 a.m. with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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