Jara releases statement after CCSD board votes to keep him as superintendent

Clark County School District superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara
Clark County School District superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara(Bizuayehu Tesfaye | Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 10:14 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Clark County School District Board of Trustees on Friday morning voted to throw out their previous vote to oust Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara.

Jara on Friday afternoon issued a statement:

After last night’s vote by the Board of Trustees to reverse its prior termination decision, which would potentially allow me to continue as CCSD’s Superintendent, I am working with my legal counsel to review this development. Given the concerns that I have previously expressed, we intend to work with the Board and its legal counsel to determine if there is a pathway that would allow me to continue as Superintendent while also implementing appropriate assurances to address and eliminate the harassment and hostile work environment.  No matter the outcome of this decision-making process, my focus on and commitment to our students and the District’s staff remains steadfast and will not waver.

-- Dr. Jesus Jara

In a 4-3 vote, the trustees opted to allow Jara to remain in his contractual position, but he will have the option to decide if he stays with the school district or not. Discussions surrounding an interim superintendent were tabled until the board is told of Jara’s next steps.

Trustees Evelyn Garcia Morales, Irena A. Cepeda, Katie Williams and Lola Brooks voted in favor of keeping Jara. Board President Linda Cavazos and Trustees Danielle Ford and Lisa Guzman voted against him.

The board also decided to hire an independent investigator to look into Jara’s claims of workplace harassment.

The meeting, which began at 5 p.m. on Nov. 18 wrapped up just before 2 a.m. on Friday, lasting more than eight hours.

Trustee Cepeda brought the issue of Jara’s termination back to the board after feeling they had violated open meeting laws.

Trustee Ford called the meeting, which dipped into the wee hours, “absolute nonsense” and “the most dysfunctional thing” she’s seen while serving on the board.

The board’s original vote to “terminate for convenience” was Nov. 6.

“After last night’s votes, I am confident the District can move forward with stability and focus on our kids. As Superintendent Jara considers his options, the Board of Trustees must consider its role and what we could have done differently to ensure we can work together focused on student outcomes,” said Williams on Friday.

CCSD parents said they feel they have been put in a holding pattern, as many questions remain unanswered.

“When we woke up this morning, we still don’t have a clear idea of what happens next,” said Nevada PTA president and parent, Rebecca Garcia.

If Jara chooses to give up his position, Garcia wonders if it will be easy to find a replacement.

“If we continue to have these struggles, will we be able to hire a high quality super intendent who wants to come into CCSD?” she said.

Other parents said they are ready to see a new chapter begin in the district.

“What I’d like to see is a fresh start with someone who really cares about the community and wants to come in and truly improve education,” said parent and teacher, Leonard Lither.