Local government leaders have penned a letter in support of Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara, who was roundly criticized last week by state officials over his conduct regarding a controversial bill to revert school-level unspent money to the school district to balance the budget woes brought by COVID-19 and other cuts levied by the Legislature.
Jara came under fire after Gov. Steve Sisolak, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert and state legislators, including Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, chastised him for attempting to distance himself and the school district from Assembly Bill 2.
Jara said the bill did not come from CCSD, and district representatives said the idea was first brought by Ebert. But emails sent by the district on June 16 and June 23 showed it asked for the proposal to be included at the special session of the Legislature.
As a result, three trustees have asked for a meeting on Jara’s conduct and contract at a to-be-determined date.
A Tuesday letter addressed to the Board of Trustees and signed by Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Henderson Mayor Debra March and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee does not address the claims of dishonesty lobbed by Sisolak and others, but instead praises Jara’s record of improving student achievement and bringing community groups into the fold.
“He has done an excellent job of establishing relationships with each of us and our local communities,” the letter read. “We, as local officials, have been brought into the CCSD planning discussions for the first time in a long time.”
It continued: “These are tense times. Dr. Jara has been in this role for less than two years and nearly 6 months of that has been spent dealing with the effects of an unprecedented global pandemic. In the weeks remaining before the start of the school year, it’s time for everyone to put their differences aside and focus on what’s most at stake in this discussion, our children, and by extension, the very future of this state.”