By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… It is time for the Clark County School District Board of Trustees to take charge of the District. Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky has announced his retirement at the end of the school year. However, he also declared he would use the remainder of this year to settle scores with people he considered “problem-makers.” A direct quote from his pre-mature retirement speech was “Announcing my retirement now will allow me to speak more clearly and address some key problems – and problem makers – without holding back. So, listen up.” He later stated, “Unfortunately, some vocal critics of mine have made our current budget situation a referendum on my leadership. That is not the case! This decision allows me greater freedom to deal with those attacks and address the real issues – and you can be guaranteed that I will.” As he closed his remarks, he again stressed his desire to be “dealing with people who are in it for personal gain and not for our students.”
Trustee Kevin Child is one of the two Trustees who have openly opposed the Superintendent and has apparently been identified as one of those “problem makers”. I have met Trustee Child on a number of occasions and these interactions make it difficult for me to defend him. However, I will follow the example of the head of the Clark County Administrators Association Mr. Stephen Augspurger. Mr. Augspurger alleges that he was threatened with physical violence by Trustee Child; even so, he still objects to the Superintendent’s banning of Mr. Child from school property. He also objects to the fact that the Superintendent has directed school administrators to take up his fight with Trustee Child. Mr. Augspurger took issue with the Superintendent’s order to district administrators to not to respond to Trustee Child if he contacts an administrator by any means. This order undermines an administrator’s ability to fulfill his/her duties by “restricting their ability to engage in conversations with a publicly elected official”. It certainly limits the ability of a trustee to do his/her job.
The banning of a school trustee from school property is probably not within the authority of a Superintendent. According to the Administrator’s Association attorney Adam Levine “By law, by statue, it is the trustees of the school district who govern and have authority over the district. It appears that the Superintendent is exceeding his authority, and unless there is a statute I have overlooked, I just don’t see a lawful basis for this directive.” The attorney for the district, Carlos McDade, took an opposing view. He stated that it is the responsibility of the school principal to control access to their buildings to prevent disruptions. He further stated employees have communicated to the central office personnel that Trustee Child on different occasion made visits to schools that were disruptive to the educational process. He further indicated that those communications are confidential and cannot be shared with the public. I, for one, am tired of statements made that are not backed by information available to the public. If you make a statement against one’s character, you should back it with evidence. McDade stated that Trustee Child’s referred to himself as the “boss” creating a hostile and intimidating work environment. According to McDade, Trustee Child made some female employees uncomfortable by staring at them.
While Trustee Child may not be the most lovable of characters, the principle behind the hired hand banning the elected overseers of CCSD from the very thing they are to oversee, has far reaching implications. Trustee Child was elected to represent over 50,000 people, 92% of which are classified as minorities by CCSD. Which is an interesting designation since only 28% of the school population of CCSD is what American’s traditionally classify as the majority. One must understand the ban imposed on Trustee Child extends to the innermost administration of CCSD. If you go to the district’s office, you will see “no Child” signs (posted restricted areas) throughout the building. Trustee Child has called for a forensic audit of the District; however, it would appear that he is not to be allowed to even communicate with the financial department of the district without the permission of “benevolent dictator” (his designation, not mine) Skorkowsky.
As unsympathic a person as Trustee Child may be, if the Superintendent can ban one elected trustee from oversight within the district, what is to stop him from banning all oversight from the trustees? One must remember we elect people to governmental positions to govern; they hire bureaucrats to help them with the day to day operations of the government. This is an example of the creation trying to rule over the creator. Our very own trustee, Trustee Garvey, has been calling for an audit. Which seems to make sense. The District received an additional 195 million dollars for this year’s operating budget but still claims to have a “shortfall” of $50-$80 million dollars. Is Trustee Garvey the next “problem person” to be attacked by the Superintendent? Are individual School Organizational Teams who present ideas counter to the Superintendent’s agenda “problem persons”?
It is time for Mr. Skorkowsky to fold his tent, sit back and marvel at an amazing career that saw an elementary school teacher raise to Superintendent of the fifth largest school district in the nation, take his retirement, and forget about his vendetta against those who found his five years as Superintendent less than stellar.
No one asked me but… Maybe the most important educational announcement I will ever make is that we have a number of persons in the valley who were denied graduation under state regulations that required the passing of a proficiency test and are now high school graduates. A student who passed all classes and met all other requirements but failed proficiency tests have been declared graduates of CCSD. Let me suggest you are not eligible for that diploma, you have that diploma. The district just need to update its records indicating your graduation. The District has set up a process for issuing those diplomas. There is no need for the process. The District knows who those students are and they number in the 10’s of thousands throughout the District. Those students should have their transcripts changed to show a graduation and every attempt should be made to notify them. While this denial was due to state law, not District regulation, it can be easily remedied by the District, and should be done so before the lawsuits begin.
Thought of the week… While seeking revenge, dig two graves – one for yourself.