LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Rarely do state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree on an issue, but they are in agreement that Clark County School District’s embattled superintendent had to go.
Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and State Sen. Carrie Buck told 8 News Now it’s time for CCSD to be taken in a new direction.
“I think we’re all ready to close this chapter and start anew,” Sen. Buck, R-Clark County, said.
Yeager, D-Clark County, agreed with that sentiment.
“I was encouraged to see Dr. [Jesus] Jara finally see the light that we need a change in leadership,” the assembly speaker said.
Jara sent his resignation letter to the school board on Tuesday, ending an embattled tenure where the board of trustees fired and then rehired him in 2021.
Yeager said he was the first lawmaker to call for Jara’s ouster.
“The state wants to be more involved in what’s happening here in the school district, particularly in Clark County. Our constituents talk to us about it all the time. It’s the number one complaint we hear, why aren’t our schools better,” Yeager said.
Republican Sen. Buck, who serves on the education committee, said CCSD’s next leader must inspire excellence, well-being and student achievement.
Buck talked about the need for accountability and options. A superintendent should be “making sure that our schools are doing a decent job, there’s a great teacher in every classroom,” Buck said.
Both lawmakers said Jara’s tenure has been marked by controversy, but a change in leadership brings hope.
“A lot of times expectations are low, and we need to raise expectations for all children because it can be done. They can do it,” Buck said.
”I think we just need better management. And to me that starts with the superintendent, so we can’t have more of the same,” Yeager said.
The Clark County Education Association announced at a press conference on Thursday it is considering asking lawmakers and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo to call a special session to address the issues at CCSD.
The district’s board of trustees meets on Wednesday to consider buying out Dr. Jara’s contract at an estimated $500,000. They will also weigh the possible appointment of Deputy Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell as superintendent.