Looks like Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara influenced the start of last week's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, too. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Policy, politics and progressive commentary
Next week the fabulous Las Vegas Strip is hosting a Formula 1 race. It could be a catastrophe. Or it could be merely an agonizing and costly study in how negligent-to-nonexistent planning can inflict costly inconvenience, chaos and confusion on thousands and thousands of people trying to get from point A to point B. Point B for a lot of them being, you know, their jobs.
Or the Las Vegas Grand Prix could go off with nary a hitch and smiles all around. Though the closer we get to the event, the more remote that scenario seems.
But no matter what happens (and what has happened so far) with F1, one thing is an absolute certainty: Area civic and “economic development” cheerleaders, pre-spun and juiced-up pseudo-statistics in hand, will proclaim it a smashing success truly beneficial for all Southern Nevadans. Whether it was or not.
So that’s one spectacle that’s going on ‘round here.
Another spectacle, albeit a less racy one, is the battle royale pitting the state’s legislative leaders on one side, and … the local school district superintendent? … yes, Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara, on the other side.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager are calling on Jara to resign because, as Cannizzaro put it, Jara’s “administration is a failure, and under any reasonable circumstances, he should resign or be terminated.”
To reiterate, we’re hosting a Formula 1 race in the heart of the most congested portion of a major metropolitan statistical area, the logistical impact analysis of which appears to have consisted of so-called “economic development” boosters using phrases like “put us on the map” and “game changer.” The good ship Reasonable has sailed.
(“Reasonable.” This from Cannizzaro, a person who voted to give a California billionaire public money for a baseball field without ever asking him why he couldn’t go find the money in the private sector like a real grown-up businessman. Maybe somebody said “game changer” to her. But I digress.)
Canniyeager are of course both right in calling for Jara’s ouster. For one thing, the Democratic-led legislature, with Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo on board, gave Jara money so he could give teachers raises, which Jara inexplicably refuses to do.
And as Cannizzaro also notes: “Unfortunately, a majority of the CCSD Board of Trustees has created an environment where Dr. Jara and his senior administrators are never expected to produce results and are never held accountable for their arrogant, intransigent leadership. A large urban school district like Clark County will always face a diverse array of challenges, and the students, teachers, and staff deserve leadership that is focused on actually addressing those challenges. Instead, we have been subjected to a never-ending stream of petty drama that only feeds the aspirations of bad actors seeking to privatize public schools and sell them off to for-profit corporate interests.”
Fact check: Spot on. (Plus it’s probably the most trenchant collection of words Cannizzaro has ever publicly issued.)
Relatedly, it’s worth remembering that in 2020 former Gov. Steve Sisolak and then/still state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert exposed and called out Jara for cooking up some dubious budgetary jiggery-pokery and then denying it. Liar, liar, pants ablaze, Sisolak and Ebert said. Except they used more diplomatic language like “leadership requires honesty. Unfortunately, that is not what we get from Superintendent Jara” (Sisolak), and “blatantly altering the truth” (Ebert).
Jara should have been fired then.
He was fired a year later in 2021. Sort of. The school board voted to fire Jara, but then voted to rehire him.
After Yeager called on Jara to resign early this month, Jara went a little MAGA. He responded to Yeager by making what amounted to an in-kind contribution to the Republican political action committee that has been tirelessly pretending to be outraged by a micro-scandal it’s successfully pumped up in local media involving Democratic members of the Nevada State Assembly.
(To be fair, perhaps Nevada Republicans sincerely are offended by “corruption,” as they are calling it. Whoa if true, because they sure are going to be heartbroken when they find out some of the stuff their state party chair, their state national party committeeman, their Clark County party chair, and the prohibitive frontrunner for their party’s presidential nomination have been up to. And how their governor condones it. But again I digress.)
So we have the superintendent of the nation’s fifth largest public school district eagerly echoing political talking points of – as Cannizzaro called them – “bad actors seeking to privatize public schools and sell them off to for-profit corporate interests.”
Effectively admitting she has no expectation Jara will, as per her desire, resign or be fired, she says she’s exploring options, “including a possible administrative restructuring of the district.”
But the Nevada Legislature, where her power lies, wouldn’t be able to do anything about that until it convenes again in February 2025. By that time Jara might have convinced the potted plants masquerading as a school board to name him CCSD Ubercommandant for Life or whatever.
In the meantime, we can expect more chaos and confusion from a school district superintendent whose continued employment in that job not only cultivates dysfunction in the school system, but demeans the people of Clark County, the people of the state of Nevada, and people the world over who work in one of life’s most noble professions, education.
Wait a minute… chaos and confusion, much of it to the detriment of working people and their families? Egad, maybe Jara is secretly in charge of F1.
The post If we wanted a hot mess why didn’t we just put Jara in charge of F1? appeared first on Nevada Current.
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