Las Vegas Businesses, Schools Partner to Improve Education - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Businesses, Schools Partner to Improve Education

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LAS VEGAS -- A new partnership is in the works between local businesses and the Clark County School District to improve education.

The partnership could result in new companies and more money flowing into the Las Vegas valley.

According to the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, southern Nevada attracted more than 60 new businesses last year alone, which created more than 2,600 jobs resulting in an economic impact of $1.5 billion.

However, there are still challenges to boosting that number even more. One of the biggest challenges could be the public school system, which still ranks as one of the worst in the country. It is a big deterrent for companies wanting to come and invest here.

The school district and the business community say things can change if both sides start taking accountability for local education.

Jonathan Jenkins relocated his start-up software firm from Shanghai, China to Las Vegas six months ago.

He is still recruiting and the number one question he gets from potential workers is, 'what is the quality of education in the valley?'

"They want to know where our kids are going to school. How are the schools ranked? Which school is the best?" Jenkins said.

Jenkins says many times he wishes he can give them a better answer.

The latest study by Quality Counts ranked Nevada dead last in the country when it comes to students chances for success.

The Clark County School District says it can turn that tide by looking to the local business community for help.

"I think it is a symbiotic relationship. We need each other," CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said.

Speaking before more than 300 business leaders Tuesday, Skorkowsky laid out how he wants to see more companies adopting local schools, mentoring students and sponsoring different education program

LVGE President Tom Skancke says the business community will only lose out if it doesn't step up to help kids in the classroom.

"K through 12 can't do this alone, the business community has to be engaged in every aspect. We all pay the price if we don't do well," Skancke said.

Jenkins says better education in Clark County means better chances to hire more workers at his company orderwithme.com.

He also has a personal reason, he and his wife are expecting their first son in the spring. Jenkins says he has faith that our schools can get better

"If we can do that here in Vegas, it can cause a lot of people around the country and around the world to see us as innovative when it comes to education," Jenkins said.

Superintendent Skorkowsky says in exchange for businesses stepping up to help the school district, he promises to do his part to keep boosting test scores and graduation rates.

He also hopes local companies will help lobby the Legislature to put more funding into Clark County schools.

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