‘Education’ articles

Pay of Nevada’s public-school employees,
versus private sector, is 4th highest in U.S.

BLS data shows 17 point gap between K-12 and private sector income in Nevada

LAS VEGAS — As teacher union activists push for a heavy new tax on Nevada’s private-sector employers, federal data is showing that the state’s public K-12 education sector is actually doing far better, financially, than the state’s private sector.

Moreover, the gap is so large that it’s the fourth biggest in the country.

Nevada Journal — building on work recently published in the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal by Executive Editor Don Carrington — this week accessed both the BLS.gov and the Silver State’s NevadaWorkforce.com websites to learn how well Nevada’s private sector is doing, versus the average state private sector nationally.

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CCSD Board to weigh authorizing hiring
for which it’s already receiving bills

Taxpayers to foot the bill for board president’s top-of-the line legal defense?

LAS VEGAS — Four months ago, the Clark County School District hired state Sen. Mark Hutchison to defend its school board president, Carolyn Edwards, before the state ethics commission.

CCSD General Counsel Carlos McDade on July 24 “acknowledged and agreed to” terms proposed by Hutchison — a contract specifying hourly rates of $330 for himself and $175 for an assisting attorney.

Since then, the school district has amassed over $21,000 in legal fees and costs with the Hutchison & Steffen law firm.

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Ethics commission in settlement
talks with CCSD’s Edwards

Slap on wrist possible, despite district trustees’ other ethics issues

LAS VEGAS — Two key witnesses expected earlier to testify in the ethics investigation of Clark County School District Board President Carolyn Edwards have been told by the Nevada Ethics Commission that they don’t need to.

The reason? According to the commission’s executive director, their testimony is no longer needed, since Edwards is planning to stipulate to the charges against her.

She thus joins the other recent CCSD subject of ethics complaints, district lobbyist Joyce Haldeman, already in settlement talks with the ethics panel.

Both witnesses tell Nevada Journal that ethics officials informed them, via email, that the scheduled Nov. 20 evidentiary hearing in this matter had been canceled.

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State, CCSD shift resources away
from ELL high school students

Vegas charter school seeks to meet dire need

LAS VEGAS — For English-language-learner high school students in Clark County, a new private commitment to the New America School-Vegas could not come at a more critical time.

Even though the Clark County School District is scheduled to receive almost $40 million from the state for ELL programming over the next biennium, none of it is going to the ELL needs of high school students.

Moreover, says Mike Barton, chief student achievement officer for CCSD, the district’s current ELL graduation initiative — focused on summer programs, credit retrieval and high school seniors, and funded by federal Title III dollars — is about to change.

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Dollar difficulties stifle potential of
Nevada charter schools

Mechanism to connect businesses and charters needed, says leader

LAS VEGAS — As the new school year begins, two more Nevada start-up charter schools — Nevada Performance Academy and Leadership Academy of Nevada — are delaying opening their doors.

They’ve run into what Elissa Wahl, vice chair of the State Public Charter School Authority, says is the biggest problem for Nevada’s start-up charter schools: money.

“$50,000 sounds like a lot of money,” she says, referring to the plight of Leadership Academy, which started with a $50,000 contribution.

“But, it’s not when you’re talking about pre-opening requirements.”

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School board members should be exempt from ethics law, since trustees serve 'the children,' says CCSD lawyer

Argument seeks to defend district board president, top lobbyist

LAS VEGAS — Requiring members of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees to obey Nevada’s Ethics in Government law, says CCSD’s top lawyer, could keep those members from doing their jobs.

School board President Carolyn Edwards in February was hit with a formal ethics complaint for using school district staff, resources and databases to advocate for the passage of a 2012 ballot question to raise county property taxes.

Responding to the complaint on Edwards’ behalf, Clark County School District lead attorney Carlos McDade wrote the state Ethics Commission that “The provision [of state law] cited by petitioner may actually prevent trustees from performing their statutory duty.”

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Ethics commission summons CCSD's
Edwards, Haldeman to answer for
Question 2 shenanigans

Commission to determine if CCSD's help to ‘Yes on 2’ campaign violated ethic laws

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Commission on Ethics has summoned Carolyn Edwards, president of the Clark County School District board of trustees, and Joyce Haldeman, CCSD’s top lobbyist and head of the district’s Community and Government Relations department, to answer for alleged violations of the Nevada Ethics in Government Law.

Edwards and Haldeman are to appear before the Commission on July 17 and 18 to answer allegations that they used taxpayer resources to push for passage of the November 2012 “Question 2” ballot initiative to raise Clark County taxes.

Question 2 was a ballot question submitted to voters to decide whether to permit CCSD to levy an additional property tax of up to 21.2 cents, per $100 of assessed valuation, to finance CCSD capital projects, including school improvements and replacements, and acquisition of new school sites.

The possibility of ethics-law violations was first reported by Nevada Journal last October.

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CCSD employees in hot water
over gun on campus

District response quite different from its reaction last year

LAS VEGAS — Two Clark County School District employees face possible criminal charges over allegations that they possessed, sold and/or exchanged handguns on a high school campus recently.

The case — turned over by school police to the District Attorney one month ago — appears, however, to be stalled in the DA’s initial “screening phase.”

“We’ve requested additional information from school police,” a representative of the DA’s office told Nevada Journal. “A decision [regarding charges] can’t be made until we receive that.”

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Former CCSD officials try to
create a unique charter school

Would serve high-school youth eager to become proficient in English and earn diplomas

LAS VEGAS — In a state where thousands of public school English-language-learner students fall out of the system every year, a charter school dedicated to those students’ English acquisition, credit retrieval and graduation would seem sure to thrive.

But for one such charter school in Nevada, New America School-Las Vegas, board members aren’t focused on how to grow or expand the school.

Instead, the question of the day is: “How do we keep from shutting our doors — even before they open?”

It’s Nevada’s challenge with English-language-learner students that led a group of concerned community members to propose a charter high school with a unique mission. Its focus: Clark County students at risk of not graduating, or who have already dropped out of school.

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As Jones leaves CCSD, he
leaves questions in his wake

Superintendent's tour highlighted deficiencies in how
government agencies confront ethical challenges

LAS VEGAS — Dwight Jones came to Clark County assuring people of his “set of mid-western values.” They made him “always want to do the right thing — all the time — even if nobody’s listening,” he said.

But over the course of his two years in Las Vegas, did Jones himself see his own idealism eroding?

During his 2010 job interview with trustees, he told them that doing “business in a transparent way” and being upfront with the community was part of what made Colorado — where he was the state’s education commissioner at the time — one of the leading states in the country.

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