Signatures submitted in move to break up Clark County School District

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:09 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - An effort to break up the Clark County School District took a step forward Wednesday when the Community Schools Initiative submitted 220,000 signatures to counties across Nevada for verification.

There has been a back and forth to break up the country’s fifth largest school district for years and now it’s possible it could be on the ballot in 2024.

Henderson city councilman Dan Stewart is leading the initiative that aims to let cities and municipalities opt out of their current school districts and form their own.

“Smaller school districts give the opportunity to students to do better, more parent input, more transparency and more accountability,” Stewart told FOX5 in September.

Just under 141,000 signatures must be validated for the measure to qualify, and they have to be spread evenly across the state’s congressional districts.

If successful, it will head to the state legislature for consideration.

CCSD superintendent Jesus Jara calls it a distraction.

“Dismantling the economies of scale achieved by CCSD will raise the costs of educating all children and further exacerbate the inequities impacting our neediest children and violate their rights,” Jara said in a statement.

He added that Nevada ranks 49th in the nation in funding per student.

“If anything is to change, Nevada must provide more funding and academic rigor to improve educational outcomes,” Jara said.

Previous efforts to break up CCSD have been unsuccessful, in part because of a concern that it could leave lower-income areas without the resources they need.

Many hoped the 2017 bill passed to allow for reorganization in the district would give more control to schools. The goal was to hand local principals more power to direct district resources, but that hasn’t happened.

The Clark County Education Association, which represents valley teachers, also opposes the initiative. CCEA said breaking up CCSD won’t fix the systemic issues that lead to low staffing.

Earlier this year, the initiative received support from six chambers of commerce including Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City.