LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Governor Steve Sisolak and the state’s education chief issued some strong words Tuesday against CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara, calling him dishonest.
At issue are statements made by Jara regarding Assembly Bill 2 which was presented to the legislature on Saturday at the special session. The bill would have let the school district take leftover money from schools and transfer it to the school district to help offset the budget deficit.
Currently, lawmakers are attempting to figure out how to plug the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole.
Jara had said the request for AB2 came from the Nevada Department of Education, not CCSD, but state leaders say he is being misleading.
Governor Sisolak released the following statement:
“In the midst of a global pandemic and a legislative special session to address our historic budget shortfall, we are focused on how to solve the major challenges facing our State. However, I cannot sit back and remain silent as Superintendent Jara tries to wrongfully place blame rather than taking responsibility for his actions. Enough is enough. While I’m not surprised, I’m incredibly disappointed that once again Superintendent Jara has tried to mislead the communities he represents and blame others in order to avoid the repercussion of his poor decisions. Being superintendent of one of the largest school districts in the nation requires leadership — especially in the midst of a crisis. And leadership requires honesty. Unfortunately, that is not what we get from Superintendent Jara. Clark County students, staff and families deserve better.”Governor Steve Sisolak
Nevada Department of Education Superintendent Jhone Ebert said “it is imperative that we lead with honesty and transparency.” and issued the following statement:
“It is incredibly concerning that Superintendent Jara is again blaming the State for his actions, instead of taking responsibility for CCSD’s request to sweep funds from individual schools to cover the district’s funding deficit. Once it became clear the proposal did not have support, Superintendent Jara disrespected our elected officials and the entire CCSD community by misrepresenting his intentions. As a leader in education, he has a responsibility to set an example for our children. Blatantly altering the truth is not only a bad example, but it’s a disservice to the educators, students and families he represents.”Superintendent Jhone Ebert, Nevada Department of Education
A few hours later, Jara responded with the following statement:
“I regret that the discussion on Monday deterred the conversation away from education. I am sure we can collectively agree, it’s time to redirect our focus to the 320,000 students we serve in the Clark County School District. The job of leading the fifth-largest school district in the nation is a tough one. It’s especially tough in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic, national and state budget crisis, and the social unrest that has erupted by decades of systemic racism in this country. The past few months have left the state of Nevada reeling as we all, the Clark County School District, state legislature, local lawmakers, community members and parents try to determine the best way forward to ensure that our children get the education they deserve. As a Latino man who came to this country as a child and worked his way out of poverty through the attainment of education, I understand what the decisions we make in the next few weeks mean for the children we serve. It is something that I am unapologetically passionate about. But I want to be clear that I want to work hand in hand with our state leaders to find the right solutions for maintaining fiscal responsibility while at the same time giving our children and their families what they need to be successful. It is in all our best interests to work together and that is my goal, but we have to get to a place of true collaboration.
When I was hired to be the superintendent of this great district, I was thrilled about all the opportunities to enhance education in the state of Nevada for our students. It was for this reason that I put together an experienced team of experts. However, CCSD remains one of the lowest funded urban districts in the nation.
I will continue to work with principals, teachers, parents, support professionals and other community stakeholders to find financial solutions to this unprecedented time in our history. Working collaboratively with leadership, we want to find ways to implement a comprehensive plan utilizing the federal Cares funds within the $600 million to close the digital divide and implement an effective distance learning program for all students, as well as COVID-19 testing for all our employees. We stand ready to continue the discussion. Our kids are counting on us to get this right.”Dr. Jesus Jara, CCSD superintendent
It is unclear if AB2 will move forward in the special session.