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Vegas-area school trustees stall in effort to find new chief

November 5, 2021 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas-area school trustees ended a special meeting late Thursday without naming an interim superintendent or outlining a process for selecting a new chief of the fifth-largest U.S. school district.

A divided Clark County School District board rejected a call to accept letters of interest and resumes for a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Jesus Jara and board President Linda Cavazos gaveled the meeting to an end.

All seven trustees agreed that an interim superintendent will not be considered for the permanent position, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Jara was abruptly fired a week ago by the trustees on a 4-3 vote “for convenience” and without a publicly stated reason.

High school teacher Jim Frazee, vice president of the Clark County Education Association union that represents teachers called Jara’s firing a political act and criticized the board on Thursday for failing to disclose reasons for the decision.

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Frazee called for transparency in the search for an interim replacement, with a process established and explained from the beginning, and no personal agendas.

“Our kids are watching and I cannot repeat that enough,” teacher Jamie Tadrzynski said, according to the Review-Journal.

Jara is scheduled to remain on the job until Dec. 1, and drew criticism this week for acting after his firing to commit almost $409,000 to salary increases for more than a dozen of his top district executives.

In a letter to the board on Monday, Jara pointed to authorization he received in August to adjust salaries for “at-will” employees.

Jeff Horn, representing district principals, administrators and non-teaching staff with the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees, asked the board to rescind the raises.

He called them “inappropriate and outrageous” and “nothing less than unconscionable.”

Jara has been superintendent since 2018. The board extended his contract on a split 4-3 vote last May. He may be entitled to his annual salary of $320,000 until January 2023.

The sprawling Clark County School District has 315,000 students, 18,000 teachers and 336 schools.