LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Political battles among Clark County School District (CCSD) board members could come to a head tonight, and community groups see the fight as an unproductive sideshow that’s playing out as students and families struggle.

A statement from The Engelstad Foundation rips trustees for failing to stick to priorities when their decision-making is crucial in leading CCSD.

“Let’s discuss the elephant in the room as it pertains to every single Clark County School District (CCSD) trustee meeting in 2021 thus far: Student achievement,” Kris Engelstad said in a statement released Thursday. “Actually, the elephant hasn’t been in the CCSD trustees’ room – or even universe – all year. There hasn’t been a single agenda item on student achievement in 2021.”

She calls the political battle over Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara and CCSD Board of Trustees President Linda Cavazos a “miserable showcase.”

Engelstad said trustees are “clearly and completely out of touch with the needs of the families and children.”

The Engelstad Foundation was established in 2002 to continue the philanthropic efforts of Ralph Engelstad, who owned the Imperial Palace on the Las Vegas Strip — currently the site of The LINQ.

Students that belong to the Youth Power Project (YPP) and Make the Road Nevada (MRNV) released a statement in support of Cavazos on Thursday, but leveled criticism at Jara.

A YPP member identified as Katie said Jara only meets with students “for publicity, rather than actually wanting to hear what they have to say.”

YPP organizer Kathia Sotelo described Cavazos as an ally to students.

Meanwhile, groups No Racism in Schools #1865, Mi Familia Vota and the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators have announced plans for a news conference before tonight’s meeting to lay out the reasons Jara and Cavazos should be removed.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at the Edward A. Greer Education Center, 2832 E. Flamingo Road.

Previous attempts to get rid of Jara by trustees Danielle Ford, Lisa Guzman and Katie Williams have been set aside. But the group finally succeeded in getting the matter before the board. It is Item No. 3 on tonight’s agenda.

Englestad defended Jara’s work “within this current system.” But she pulled no punches in criticizing the district’s performance.

“The student achievement data within CCSD is appalling,” she said.

“An example: Black students enrolled in CCSD are currently projected to be 10% on grade level by the end of the year in grades 3 through 8. This fact, among so many, is made that much more disturbing as the CCSD trustees focus on anything but the students’ success,” Engelstad said.

“It’s beyond time for them to focus and do their jobs,” she said.