School superintendent addresses council

In an unusual move, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Jesus Jara addressed the Mesquite City Council meeting on Sep. 25 regarding the well-being of schools in the Virgin Valley.

Jara recognized that there appears to be a lack of trust between CCSD’s central administration offices and local schools and parents throughout the district. He said he is committed to ensuring that schools have the necessary resources to fulfill their jobs.

He also said he is aware of concerns between Mesquite’s schools and central offices and that “I’m going to let you know from my office that my staff will do everything possible to make sure all schools throughout the county have the necessary resources to make sure they do a great job.”

Jara said “I believe in my heart of hearts that the heartbeat of this school system is the great classrooms and great school buildings that we have to make this thing run.”

Councilman David Ballweg asked Jara to review the funding reductions that the four Mesquite-area schools have experienced this year.

Councilman Geno Withelder queried Jara about state-wide tax receipts from marijuana sales that were supposed to go to additional school funding. “What is the story on the marijuana money that is due our school system? It’s been almost three years [since tax monies have been collected] and there hasn’t been a penny distributed from the state. Where is it and why hasn’t it been distributed?”

Jara said “From my understanding the money has come into the state’s general fund. It was not an increase as was explained to the voters.  Then some money was moved out to the state’s rainy-day fund.”

Jara went on to say that he wants to have discussions with state legislators during the next legislative session about modernizing the funding formulas for schools.

Councilman Brian Wursten brought up the situation with Hughes Middle School water problems. Apparently, the water is severely discolored and not fit for drinking. Wursten said the school has been using bottled water since the beginning of the school year.   “It’s been going on for some time,” Wursten said. “The health district is not happy with the whole situation.”

Jara promised to find a way to resolve the problem.

Wursten also asked if local schools will receive the district’s savings occurring by having one principal cover both the Hughes Middle School and Virgin Valley High School. Principal Maurice Perkins, the assigned principal for Hughes has also been serving at the high school because of the high school’s assigned principal’s extended medical leave.

Jara said he would look into it.

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