LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara is speaking out about his plan to cut 170 dean positions. The news came on the heels of the district’s need to fill a nearly $20 million budget hole.
Supt. Jara says the high school and middle school deans are not losing their jobs because there are other opportunities for those employees from being an assistant principal to going back into the classroom as a teacher, but that will likely come with a pay cut.
According to Dr. Jara, the shakeup was a tough decision, but it is not only about the budget; it was also done to change the district’s mindset regarding safety in schools.
“We have to do things differently,” Dr. Jara said. “We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect our children to be in school. Across the country, when you look at urban school systems, the dean position is a teaching position.”
The dean position is made up of various tasks, including teacher evaluations, discipline, and safety on campuses. Jara wants to reallocate those responsibilities elsewhere.
“When you really look at the assistant principals there, there’re other administrators within the school as well and that’s where we need to look at it,” Jara said.
The news was a shocking decision to many across the Las Vegas valley, but it wasn’t to the Clark County Education Association.
“There was no surprise, and I don’t know why the community is surprised,” said John Vellardita, executive director of Clark County Education Association. “I mean it was very clear as the session was moving on, and when the legislative session closed out there was a shortfall. Everybody knew it.”
The teachers union does not plan to object Jara’s plan. But the threat of a strike remains a possibility if the district makes any cuts to the classroom.
“We think the situation is fluid,” Vellardita said.
Concerns remain about the dean position’s role with school safety. Jara says money approved from this legislative session will help address that.
“So we’re going into looking at where the safety dollars that are going to come in and what inventions and what resources that we can put into our schools,” Jara said.
According to Jara, they’re taking a different approach and doing what is best for students across the district.
“When you really look at where do we balance the budget, protecting the classroom was the number one priority of mine and my board,” said Supt. Jara.
Jara says he’s in talks with the superintendent of the state about the safety money. He says he wants behavioral specialists and interventionists.