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July 31, 2014

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Jim Rogers offers to lead Clark County School District for free

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SAM MORRIS / LAS VEGAS SUN FILE

Chancellor Jim Rogers speaks at a rally in January 2009 on the UNLV campus to protest Gov. Jim Gibbons’ proposed cuts to state funding for higher education.

Walt Rulffes

Walt Rulffes

Businessman and past university system Chancellor Jim Rogers on Wednesday offered the Clark County School Board his services as superintendent, making himself available free of charge through July 2013.

In a letter sent to School Board President Terri Janison, Rogers said he had decided to make the offer after becoming “more and more concerned, not only about the School District’s ability to solve the present K-12 education problems in Southern Nevada, but it’s ability to have substantial future success.”

His offer comes after several months of lobbying by a coalition of parents who have asked the School Board to name Rogers interim superintendent while a formal search is conducted.

Superintendent Walt Rulffes retires at the end of August.

Rogers served as chancellor from 2004 until his retirement last summer. The Board of Regents named him “chancellor emeritus” in March in recognition of his service.

He had previously said he would be willing to serve as the School District’s interim superintendent, after being approached by several people who asked him to consider the job.

In his letter to Janison, Rogers said that while he would commit to serving three years, “if at any time the board feels I am not doing the job adequately, the board would be free to terminate my services on ten-day’s notice.”

In an interview with the Sun, Rogers said he hoped his offer would take some of the pressure off School Board members to rush the search for a permanent superintendent, or to make a selection from a potentially inadequate pool of candidates.

“I want them to feel they have a backup plan,” said Rogers, who is owner of Sunbelt Communications, which includes KVBC Channel 3.

Rogers said his knowledge of the state’s public education system and politics would mean a smooth transition at the helm of the nation’s fifth-largest school district, particularly going into the 2011 legislative session in February.

Janison could not be immediately reached for comment.

School Board Vice President Carolyn Edwards said she was aware of the letter’s contents.

“I think it’s great that he’s interested,” Edwards said. “But we need to see who all of the applicants are and what our choices might be before we nail it down.”

Rogers said he intends to formally apply for the job through the search firm McPherson and Jacobson of Omaha, Neb., which was hired earlier this month by the School Board.

Rulffes earns about $270,000 annually, although School Board members have indicated that the starting salary for the next superintendent might be lower.

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