Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Our community, our schools, our say

Another view?

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Bob Mueller’s letter, “Give the School District the ax,” stated how outdated our school district is and how it has outlived its usefulness.

Mueller suggests the citizens of Summerlin, Green Valley, Henderson and other areas of Clark County should have control of their schools and their communities — that, if they wish to improve their schools, it should be their right. In these communities, we should not be burdened by taxes for schools in Elko, Carson City or anywhere else in Nevada.

I believe this could be the one thing that could help our school system, and I applaud Mueller so very much for the first sensible thing I have heard after living here 51 years. He should be head of our schools.

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Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

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  1. Citizens, especially locally, should have a say in the matters of their own school districts. But not run them. They can't. They don't have the time and/or the talent. Plus, no one having both donates them free full time. Let the experts do their jobs. And let's assist them. How? By breaking the Clark County School System down into 2 or more locally administered districts. Divide and conquer. Smaller districts with site based management. These are easier and quicker to change with the necessary and applicable educational reforms.

    Carmine D

  2. Carmine: I agree with your comment, but would add that the CCSD needs to put local talent in charge of the District, and not some overpaid carpetbagger who knows nothing of the local education situation.

  3. "we should not be burdened by taxes for schools in Elko, Carson City or anywhere else in Nevada."

    Look back to Nevada in 1864 when we joined the Union. The largest city in the State was Virginia City, the population concentrated in that area, and Pioche was the only true population center outside that area.

    The Nevada of 2013 is much different with nearly three-fourths of the population in southern Nevada's Clark County and most of that in the Las Vegas Valley. If we were designing a State today, you wonder if Clark County would even be part of Nevada or a completely separate state.

  4. Gary:

    If the CCSD were broken down, it could [use home grown local talent]. And promote from within easier and better. Smaller district Supers to larger districts.

    Carmine D

  5. The Nevada Constitution requires the state to provide for a "uniform" system of public schools, language similar to that of most Western states. Several states have been required by court rulings to equalize funding for schools, collecting a significant proportion of local taxation and redistributing on a per student basis. Nevada does that already but still allows significant local support, probably violating the "uniform" requirement. Since it only affects a proportionately small number of students at this time the interest groups have not yet seen fit to take the issue to court. If, however, CCSD was broken up into districts which, as have been suggested here, are differentiated by economics and race then the uniformity issue would move to the head of the line. We really don't care if 600 kids in boondock county get funded at $14K per head, but if 30,000 Summerlin kids got twice as much as 30,000 East LV kids.....start shoveling bags of money for the lawyers and consultants.

  6. That idea doesn't go far enough. It's time to divest government from any participation in the schooling of children except for the funding. The report card on the public school system is clear: it deserves an "F!" For more tham 5 decades it has failed miserably in its mission and has created a "vast wasteland" of functional illiterates and this has created enormous social problems such as crime, poverty, substance abuse and teen pregnancies. Can anyone honestly say that this generation is more educated than previous ones? Can anyone honestly argue that the public school system is fulling its task of educating its charges? With a drop-out and non-graduation rate of nearly 50%, the proof is clear. The public school system is a putrid failure.

  7. Imagine, for a moment, sitting at a phenomenally long dinner table, everyone there for the same purpose, but, because of the length and grandeur of that dining table, those very important diners were UNable to effectively communicate, or if they finally could, there was little, if any, consensus.

    That is the problem with a gigantic school district, as the one here in Clark County. Everyone is there, but few have the ability to hear and listen to what is being said.

    With the CCSD Performance Zone Overlays, it is an easy and simple task to divide this colossial school district into smaller, more dynamic and efficient school districts. The transition could be done during summer break in a seamless manner. The school district would NOT need to reinvent the wheel, as there are plenty of model school districts to emulate.

    Smaller districts mean localized empowerment (something that is sadly lacking at the present with the "5th largest school district in the nation". Those who live in that school's neighborhood find it in their best interest to be involved and make that school the very best it can be. The parents, families, neighborhood community actively participate, and, as a result, you have better education, increased student achievement, functional students, school, neighborhood, and community! Nothing is lost in the blur, everyone equally bears responsibility in how things are, and in making things better. Celebrating success becomes more "personal" in a smaller school district.

    There is oversight and accountability of smaller school districts. That is why you have a "County Office of Education" to insure following standards, laws, policies, and regulations, and that public schools are solvent as well as properly funded under the law. The public trust is respected and a top priority besides children receiving the best education that meets their needs in the least restrictive learning environment.

    Southern Nevada is no longer a vast desert with a smattering of ranches. It has grown beyond belief, to an UNsustainable point where we are now in a crisis mode. Time to find workable solutions to produce the results and quality we seek in life.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star