LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Deans at Clark County schools still have their positions, for now. Superintendent Jesus Jara agreed during a board of education meeting Thursday night to reevaluate where to make cuts.
The discussion comes one month after he announced the immediate elimination of 170 dean positions to save the district $17 million.
The Thursday night meeting finally brought the discussion to a public forum. This comes after a lawsuit filed by the administrators union claimed the elimination decision happened behind closed doors and violated the open meeting laws.
The agenda item did say “corrective action” but in the end there wasn’t a vote by trustees. However, Jara did agree to reevaluate the situation.
“I did feel better about the conversations among all parties,” said Lance Jarrel, Greenspun Junior High School dean.
He is breathing a little easier after Jara’s announcement.
“I feel like I’m able to kind of digest what’s going on,” Jarrel said. “It’s not as in the dark, I guess.”
Jarrel is more optimistic about keeping his job as a dean at Greenspun Junior High School following the meeting.
“For me, I feel a little bit better about a process actually occurring now,” he said.
The discussion regarding the deans lasted a few hours. Superintendent Jara tried to justify his decision to eliminate the positions by sharing the district’s other options to balance the budget.
In the end, he agreed to meet with a group of principals in the next few days. They’ll reevaluate how to keep deans and save the district $17 million.
“I’ll go back to my cabinet and look at some other possibilities. I have some ideas that I don’t want to over communicate tonight,” Jara said.
“When you kick the decision back to the schools, it’s the right thing to do because we’re the ones that know our individual situations at schools and we can make the best decisions for what’s right for our kids,” said David Willson, Eldorado High School principal.
The administrations union praised the open discussion and appeared confident about the future outcome.
“It appears to me, we’re going to save the deans’ jobs,” said Stephen Augspurger, Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional Technical Employees. “Obviously, they’re still in limbo a bit, not near the kind of limbo they were in yesterday afternoon prior to the start of that meeting.”
But uncertainty remains for Jarrel and other deans who must continue waiting for what’s next.
“I’m still worried you know in the fact that there isn’t closure. There isn’t an actual plan. There isn’t something that says hey, this is what we’re going to do.”
The district has reassigned deans to new teaching positions. But a temporary restraining order remains in place stopping the district from enforcing that, along with eliminating the positions.
The administrators union did file a new motion this week requesting an audio tape of a June 5 meeting between the board of trustees and Jara regarding the elimination of deans.