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Criticism intensifies after decision to cut school deans

June 14, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Criticism has intensified against Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara after he announced the elimination of all 170 middle and high school dean positions.

Jara apologized at the district board meeting Thursday for how he made the announcement — in an online video Monday — but defended the cost-saving cut that aims to plug a projected $17 million budget deficit.

“I made a calculated decision and obviously it didn’t go as planned — so to you, everyone here, I’m sorry,” Jara said. “And to this community and to our board, I will do better in our communication, especially when we are talking about employment of our dedicated staff.”

The decision to eliminate the jobs was difficult and came from a list of six possible cuts that included the elimination of arts, magnet and athletic programs, he said.

Critics of the cut told district officials that it would put students at risk. The middle and high school deans supervise teachers and oversee school safety.

“There will be fewer eyes watching our children and fewer adults to confide in when scary things happen,” said Meghann Peterson, a teacher at Arbor View High School in Las Vegas.

School principals unanimously gave a vote of no confident in Jara on Wednesday.

The Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees does not believe the decision was handled correctly and has accused the board of violating open meeting rules, said Stephen Augspurger, the union’s executive director. It plans to file a complaint with the state.

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