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Clark County School Board to consider ending Jara’s contract

Updated July 23, 2020 - 5:20 pm

The Clark County School Board will hold a special session Wednesday to evaluate the “character, misconduct or competence” of Superintendent Jesus Jara and possibly vote on whether to terminate his contract.

The meeting will be held via video conference at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center, the district said Thursday.

Trustee Danielle Ford said Wednesday night that a letter had been “served” to Jara alerting him to the meeting.

The meeting may discuss “allegations that the public and district staff have lost confidence and trust in your leadership,” the letter stated, as well as “your alleged failure to establish and maintain a professional and respectful relationship with members of the Nevada Legislature, the governor and staff of the Nevada Department of Education (NDE).”

Among the items to be considered, according to the letter, is the “termination for convenience provision of your employment contract.”

The school district declined to comment on the calling of the meeting, saying in a statement only that “Superintendent Jara remains focused on the upcoming school year and preparing students, staff, parents and the community for distance education.”

Jara has recently come under fire after denying that a proposal to repurpose unspent money from schools for the district’s budget originated with the school district. The proposal was introduced as Assembly Bill 2 in the recent special session of the Legislature.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert released a joint statement last week criticizing Jara for the incident.

“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,” Sisolak said at the time. “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.”

Three trustees — Ford, Linda Cavazos and Linda Young — requested Jara’s contract and conduct be brought up at a special meeting, according to board President Lola Brooks. The letter Wednesday was signed only by Ford.

Asked about the special meeting on KNPR on Thursday, Jara said his primary concern was the beginning of the school year for students and teachers.

“I read the headlines and I’ll just tell you this: My main focus is on how to open schools,” Jara said.

Clark County Education Association Executive Director John Vellardita, who also appeared on the segment, said there is still untold backstory to AB2.

In an interview with the Review-Journal, he reaffirmed his belief that there was a political agenda behind the fallout from AB2, referring specifically to Ford and the administrators’ union, as well as the district and Sisolak’s office. He declined to elaborate until the special meeting.

But Vellardita added that the controversy has distracted from the issues of reopening schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and back-filling budget cuts made by the special session of the state Legislature.

Ford said she did not know what Vellardita was referring to.

Sisolak’s office, CCSD and the administrators’ union did not return requests for comment on Thursday. A Nevada Department of Education spokesperson said the agency had nothing to add to Ebert’s previous statement.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at aappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0218. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter. Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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