LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A company that places teachers from abroad into classrooms across the country is looking to break its contract with the Clark County School District, citing the lack of accreditation from some schools.
Yet the district is pushing back and has filed a lawsuit to prevent that.
Greenheart International, which is based in Illinois, sponsors teachers from abroad with a J-1 visa. The non-profit has 68 teachers working across CCSD.
These teachers fill a critical role in the district where there is a shortage of educators, and the potential of ending that contract is creating uncertainty among some of the staff.
“Well if I put my place in their situation, of course, I would really feel the same,” Lauro Esquilona III, a CCSD middle school teacher, said.
Esquilona is a J-1 teacher from the Philippines who is sponsored by a different company than Greenheart. J-1 visa teachers are placed at a school for at least three years with a possible one to a two-year extension.
A few of his colleagues are nervous about whether they’ll even have a job in August.
In a lawsuit filed last month, the Clark County School District is claiming that Greenheart is trying to end its contract with CCSD based on “flawed data.”
According to the lawsuit, “on or about May 3, 2023, Greenheart advised all J-1 teachers they could not continue to work in their current schools in the 2023-2024 school year claiming that the public schools” are not accredited.
Furthermore, the district states “the STAR ratings relied on by Greenheart have not been updated in five years and are based on 2018 data.”
It also alleges “Greenheart has not imposed the same requirements on teachers it sponsors across the country and is treating CCSD and the J-1 Teachers employed by CCSD in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner.”
Greenheart allegedly sent the directive to teachers based at 10 high schools which include Cheyenne, Eldorado, Legacy, Mojave, Valley, Western, and Sunrise Mountain, according to the lawsuit. These schools, according to our previous reports, are where CCSD police have issued the most criminal citations.
As for Esquilona, he finds the work at CCSD very enriching.
“There’s some training here that I’ve never attended in the Philippines. It’s actually an opportunity on my part, especially on the technology side and on the classroom management,” he said.
He wishes federal and state lawmakers would make it easier for international teachers to work here to address the teacher shortage.
“I think they really need to really look more beyond on how J-1 can be one of the many solutions,” Esquilona said.
The Clark County School District has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Greenheart International did not respond to our request for comment.