Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky announced his retirement Thursday morning at a news conference held at Walter Bracken Steam Academy.
Skorkowsky says he is not asking the school board to renew his contract at the end of June and emphasized he is leaving the position on his own terms.
The decision comes as the district is in the thick of a budget crisis. It ends his career, but not his fight for the district.
Twenty nine years ago, Skorkowsky started his CCSD career teaching at C.C. Ronnow Elementary School.
He’s led the district for four years, and his departure was punctuated with an apology and defiance.
Whatever tension Skorkowsky may have held in the morning, he first tried to cut with humor by joking that he was running for governor, then he got serious.
“I came back one night, had to go to a board meeting the next and I’m like, what person does this?”
Staff only found out moments before the announcement. A few trustees tried to talk him out of it.
“I asked him to reconsider,” said Deanna Wright, board president. “I also asked him if this is what he really wanted.”
Evidently, it is.
In a statement, Skorkowsky said he was retiring, effective next June. A decision he says was his, and his alone.
It comes as CCSD deals with an unexpected $60 million budget shortfall, something Skorkowsky acknowledged.
“I take ownership for that, and for that I do apologize. However, I cannot and will not allow my critics to rest this shortfall on me,” he said.
Which lead to his defiance.
An honesty he promises will be on full display as the district and its unions hammer out a budget solution.
“When you are in a superintendent’s role and you know you have to work collectively for future years, you can’t always have the candid conversations because it might jeopardize those relationships.”
“We need to be able to get past the adult issues and make sure we make our district better. We can’t do it if we are constantly attacking each other,” Skorkowsky said.
Some critics suggest he’s being pushed out or he should leave immediately, Skorkowsky says, now, he can push back. In the end, he thinks that will help students more than himself.
“I can address the truth anytime. Just gives me a little more freedom to say what I think personally.”
Trustee Wright says Skorkowsky’s decision did not come from the board. The board will discuss the budget next week.
He added he made the announcement at this time because he wanted to give the board enough time to find his replacement.