LAUGHLIN — Laughlin Junior/Senior High School won’t have to eliminate a dean position on its staff, but school officials will have to find a way to trim nearly $37,000 from its budget for the school year that begins next month.
Clark County School District Supt. Jesus Jara announced last week that he was rescinding the order for all district secondary schools to eliminate the dean of school position to help close a $17 million gap in the $2.4 billion 2019-2020 school district budget. Instead, he ordered each of the district’s middle schools, junior highs and high schools to reduce per-pupil spending by a little more than $98 per student.
For Laughlin Junior/Senior High, according to CCSD figures, an enrollment of 376 students means a total reduction of $36,855.52 from the school’s budget. The CCSD operates 360 schools reaching about 320,000 students. It is one of the largest school districts in the nation.
Jara’s dean elimination proposal received immediate backlash over the summer even as school organization teams scrambled to weigh the impact of the order while preparing for a school year scheduled to begin Aug. 12.
Laughlin Schools Principal Dawn Estes and the Laughlin SOT were concerned about the “ripple effect” the elimination of the position — Dani LeRoux’s job was on the line — would have on operation of the school and how duties could be reassigned.
“When I look at it from the human side of it, it’s so catastrophic I can’t put it into words,” Estes said at the SOT’s hastily called emergency meeting in June.
Deans typically handle student discipline and attendance issues as well as campus safety measurers.
Now, Estes and the SOT are faced with more scrambling to find budget cuts that will be implemented in two weeks.
Jara’s announcement came after talks with school officials, teachers, support professionals and others. Discussions centered on ideas on balancing the district budget, aimed at not reducing staffing.
Jara said he was confident that the schools throughout the district would come up with appropriate plans to help the district address its financial issues.
“These decisions will allow for schools to start on time and ensure that students will have the support they need for the first day,” Jara said.
“One of the things we were most sure about coming into the listening sessions we hosted after the July 11 board meeting is that we didn’t want to make any cuts to classroom teachers, support professionals or increase class size,” Jara said. “Our principals and SOTs know what their individual school communities need most. This new direction will give them the ability to make those decisions. Our students deserve this kind of collaboration.”
The Clark County Education Association responded to Jara’s original plan — reduction of the dean positions — with the threat of a possible strike of the teachers’ union. And the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees — a union representing administrative staff — filed a lawsuit against the district and its board of trustees alleging a violation of the Nevada Open Meeting law during a meeting at which the decision was reached to enact the dean reduction plan.
A temporary restraining order related to the lawsuit was dissolved; the restraining order barred removal of the deans until the lawsuit had been resolved. Since the decision to remove the deans was rescinded, the restraining order was moot.
The administrators association has not indicated its immediate willingness to drop the lawsuit over the alleged open meeting violation.
Barring an emergency meeting, the Laughlin SOT’s next scheduled meeting is Thursday.