LAS VEGAS — Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and State Superintendent Jhone Ebert today accused Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara of misleading the public about proposed legislation to deal with drastic budget cuts at the Nevada Legislature’s special session.
Jara reportedly denied that Assembly Bill 2, which would allow use the district’s unspent money from schools for the district as a whole, originated with the district.
Not so, lawmakers and online commenters said.
“This entire concept was initiated by CCSD’s request to make the reversions mandatory,” said Assemblyman Jason Frierson.
This disconnect had commenters online accusing Jara of lying. The Governor and State Superintendent issued scathing criticisms of Jara.
“I cannot sit back and remain silent as Superintendent Jara tries to wrongfully blame rather than taking responsibility for his actions,” Sisolak said in a statement to the news media. “While I’m not surprised, I’m incredibly disappointed that once again … Jara tried to mislead the communities he represents and blame others in order to avoid the repercussions of his poor decisions.”
AB2 would authorize “a large school district to treat the year-end balances of local school precincts as unrestricted fund balances for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, for the purpose of providing instructional services and programs to local school precincts.”
Currently, each school precinct in these large districts presumes these dollars are restricted. Under AB2, CCSD would get to use those unspent funds for its own budget.
“It was not the recommendation and it was not CCSD’s bill,” Jara said, according to reporting by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The funding would remain at the school level.”
State Superintendent Ebert called Jara’s statements disingenuous.
“Once it became clear the proposal did not have support, Superintendent Jara disrespected our elected officials and the entire CCSD community by misrepresenting his intentions,” she said.
Sisolak piled on.
“Leadership requires honesty,” the governor said. “Unfortunately, that is not what we get from Superintendent Jara. “Clark County students, staff and families deserve better.”
Jara issued a statement in response later in the day. His response, however, did not address the statements made by the Governor and state Superintendent other than to say, “I regret that the discussion on Monday deterred the conversation away from education.”
He also said he was passionate about education and “will continue to work with principals, teachers, parents, support professionals and other community stakeholders to find financial solutions to this unprecedented time in our history.”