CCSD trustees approve extension of Supt. Jara’s contract
UPDATE (Oct. 5) -- CCSD Trustees on Wednesday approved Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara’s contract extension.
The extension, which means Jara will be in place for the next 3.5 years, will come with a new salary of nearly $400,000 per year.
The extension was approved with a 4 to 3 vote, with Trustees Garcia Morales, Cepeda, Williams and Brooks voting yes.
Original story continues below.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara got an “A grade” last week ahead of a possible vote to renew his contract until 2026, and now the board is getting ready to vote on a possible contract extension. But some are saying that the data shown to the board was not fully representative of the truth.
CCSD Trustees ranked Superintendent Jara as “highly effective” in a Thursday evaluation. The board averaged their scores and ultimately voted 5-2 to accept Superintendent Jara’s final ranking. As a result, trustees will possibly vote on extending Superintendent Jara’s contract until 2026 at a Wednesday morning work session, which would include a $75,000 annual raise, making his annual salary $395,000.
Superintendent Jara’s current contract is up in January, however, and the Board of Trustees had until December 15 to evaluate him for a possible contract extension. But in September, Trustee Lola Brooks, District E, made a motion to move the evaluation up.
“I’m gonna throw something out there that I think would get us to a place where we could evaluate him fairly, and in a timely manner,” said Trustee Brooks at a Sept. 7th board meeting. “I’m gonna move to move this evaluation up so that we can complete it by October 1.”
Others on the board have since raised concerns about what they suspect was the motive behind the motion.
“Immediately I was like oh, clearly, clearly they are going to try to rush some evaluation through,” said Trustee Danielle Ford, District F.
It is something Trustee Ford says she was worried would happen.
“If they do this a month before elections, they are stripping the constituents of their ability to have a voice in the leadership for the next four years of a school district of 300,000 students.”
Trustee Linda Cavazos, District G, also raised the question of whether this evaluation was expedited with another motive in mind.
“We have this expedited thing that seems to have been maybe predetermined, or other-- certain people have talked about it, but the other people are not included,” said Cavazos at that Sept. 7th board meeting.
Community members are even criticizing the metrics used to evaluate Superintendent Jara. As education analytics firm Data Insight Partners points out, the Powerpoint slide shown to the board to prove student proficiency in reading and math under Superintendent Jara’s leadership showed positive improvements. However, the firm points out that their comparisons aren’t “apples to apples:” Nevada Report Card’s site says only 54% of students were tested last year in the spring of 2021.
The majority of the board has indicated that they are in support of keeping Jara on as superintendent, and the majority will rule on Wednesday if a vote is pursued.
If the contract extension were to be broken, CCSD would then need to pay out $1.2 million dollars to Superintendent Jara for his salary alone.
Meantime, Trustee Ford is calling the handlings of this process “unethical.”
“The whole purpose of elections is to be able to have a democratic vote, and to be able to have the people represent the trustees, or the trustees representing people’s voices,” said Ford.
After the meeting, Superintendent Jara said in a statement, “I look forward to continuing to lead the district with the Board of Trustees and our 40,000 employees as we all focus our collective efforts on improving student outcomes and well-being.
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