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Fifth Largest School District in US Meeting Over Fate of Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara

Fifth Largest School District in US Meeting Over Fate of Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara

Dr. Jesus Jara could soon be on his way out as superintendent of Clark County Schools in Nevada as of July 29 when a virtual meeting will take place. Jara was reportedly served personally at his residence last night with a notice requiring his presence at a special session called by the Clark County School Board Trustees. Jara has been under fire for a number of things, including, what is seen as a recent money grab from school-allocated funding. Jara proposed taking leftover funds from different schools and using the money to cover district budget shortfalls. Jara was blasted by many for the proposed move and this is just one of the things that led to the July 29 meeting being called. Jara denied making such a move but was swiftly countered by the Governor, Steve Sisolak. During the upcoming meeting, the trustees may seek Jara’s firing from the position of superintendent.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert blasted Jara for not being truthful about his proposal, saying that the bill was not his idea. Gov. Sisolak accused Jara of, “wrongfully placing blame rather than taking responsibility for his actions” after Jara balanced the blame for the bill on the shoulders of the Nevada Department of Education. Sisolak added, “Being Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in the nation requires leadership — especially in the midst of a crisis. And leadership requires honesty. Unfortunately, that is not what we get from Superintendent Jara. Clark County students, staff, and families deserve better.”

Ebert also remarked on Jara, saying he was “blaming the state for his actions, instead of taking responsibility for CCSD’s request to sweep funds,” and called his denial “a disservice to the educators, students, and families he represents.” The Administrator’s Union also called for Jara’s removal in a fiery letter that may be read in its entirety right here.

Dr. Jesus Jara
Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Jara is no stranger to controversy. In November 2019 an ethics complaint against Jara accused the Clark County School District Superintendent of spending taxpayer dollars on personal travel. Jara’s current yearly salary is reported to be $320,000 a year and the contract has additional lucrative benefits. Yet this did not prevent the Superintendent from expensing a $2,400 Peloton exercise bike later that same year in May. Another ethics complaint was filed, and CCSD later issued this statement: “The job of the superintendent of a large urban school system is one of the most demanding in the nation.  That of the superintendent of the Clark County School District (CCSD), the 5th largest school system in the country, is tremendous.  It is a job that requires making life-changing decisions for more than 320,000 children, numerous times, in any given day.  The time to make those decisions stretches far beyond the traditional 9 to 5 workday, often leaving leaders struggling to find opportunities to integrate beneficial physical fitness into their schedules.”

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And, in May 2020, another ethics complaint against CCSD superintendent Jara was filed charging that the school chief used his position to influence the upcoming school board race by directing a district lobbyist to meet with a candidate. The complaint filed May 4 2020 states Jara directed lobbyist Patrick McNaught to meet with District B candidate Jeff Proffitt on Feb. 11 in order to obtain information about the race — allegations denied by McNaught and Proffitt.

When the CCSD School Board meets on the 29th it would take four Trustee votes to terminate Jara’s contract. They may also choose to discipline him. Three of the seven Trustees called for this special meeting, so the “swing vote,” if there is one, could be critical when it comes to determining Jara’s final fate.

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