LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara just announced in a news conference that they are not eliminating the 170 dean positions he initially wanted to get rid of to balance the school budget and give teachers a raise.
Jara held a news conference Wednesday at 3 p.m. to clarify how the Clark County School District intends to resolve a $17 million budget deficit without eliminating 170 dean positions.
“The resounding message from all stakeholders, including teachers, support professionals, our support professionals and our community, was that the decision was best left to our principals as well as their school organizational teams,” Jara said.
Jara says every principal of secondary schools will have to cut $98 per pupil to help balance the $17 million deficit in the budget.
“We’re excited we’re going to be able to transition that position through out the next year for doing more work with,” said David Wilson, a principal within the Clark County School District.
The superintendent also put criteria around it, saying the funds can not be shared between schools. There also can’t be any cuts to teachers, support staff or an increase of class sizes.
Because the school district will no longer eliminate the dean positions, Judge Nancy Allf on Wednesday canceled an Aug. 14 court hearing and ended a temporary restraining order protecting the jobs.
The Aug. 14 hearing was set to review evidence in a lawsuit filed by the school administrators union, which claimed the decision to eliminate the dean positions happened during a closed meeting with Jara and the trustees. That would violate the state’s open meeting law.
The questions over how the district would find $17 million to balance the budget — and whether deans might be reassigned to teaching positions — has created instability as the school year nears. Classes begin on Aug. 12.
However, Jara’s decision to step back from getting rid of the dean positions has finally gives deans clarity about their future, along with where the administrator’s union goes from here.
“I take it personally because it is my well being and it is my life that was affected,” said Cristal Boisseau, dean at Shadow Ridge High School.
“We think we’re further ahead than we’ve ever would’ve been, so I see this,” said Stephen Augspurger, executive director, Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professionals. “I hate to reduce this to a winner and a loser. I think what it shows us is when poor decisions are made, without the appropriate input, nothing good ever comes from that.”
The administrators union still has various concerns that include a possible open meeting violation and the superintendent’s authority.
“Our goal moving forward is to have a better place where all of us can work in open, honest, conversations about how we make changes in the Clark County School District., Augspurger said.
The union plans to continue pursuing legal action regarding those matters.