Nevada Ed Watch 6/28/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.


State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA)

What is the SPCSA & what are they responsible for? The SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools across the State of Nevada. The Authority consists of seven appointed members responsible for overseeing educational and operational standards, and holding sponsored schools accountable to the academic achievement of students.

How often does the SPCSA Board meet? SPCSA members meet once monthly (three times in June)– on Fridays.

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? All meetings are held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (1st floor boardroom). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.


Friday, June 28, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment
Members of the public provided testimony to Board members regarding:

  • Concerns about severance pay not received by staff following the closure of Argent Preparatory Academy. 
  • A representative from the City of Henderson shared input to suggest including overcrowding as part of the needs assessment within the SPCSA growth management plan.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Amendment Applications

The Board approved the following requests for charter contract amendments:

  • Request for facility consolidation of two Quest Academy campuses– the Alexander campus and the Northwest campus (for a combined enrollment of 600 students)
  • Request for enrollment to include only students 16 years and older at Beacon Academy
  • (Conditional Approval): Request by Leadership Academy of Nevada to operate independently from their contracted Educational Management Organization (EMO). This was approved on the condition that the curriculum is approved by the Department of Education. 

The Board Heard an Update on Discovery Charter School’s Receivership

Discovery Charter’s receiver shared a quarterly update with the Board, including the following highlights:

  • A list of proposed Board Members
  • There are two leaders covering administrative duties until the Board vets and approves a new school leader.

The Board Heard an Update on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy’s receiver shared updates to the Board, which included continued challenges with selling one of the school’s facilities. Once the facility is sold, funds will become available to pay severance to exited staff.

The Board Heard an Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA)

The Board heard a quarterly update on the progress towards closure of Nevada Virtual Academy’s elementary school– scheduled by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Updates included:

  • NVA filed a complaint challenging the conditions that the Authority Board approved in 2018, when NVA’s charter application was approved.
  • NVA filed an injunction to operate under a court order without a charter contract. They are pending court hearing.
  • NVA approved litigation against the SPCSA.
  • SPCSA is hopeful that contract is executed by June 30th, despite court injunction.

The Board Approved the Academic and Organizational Performance Frameworks 

Academic Performance Framework

SPCSA staff proposed an Academic Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The SPCSA framework aligns with the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF), and will inform high stakes decisions and possible interventions. The framework includes four key indicators to determine a school’s performance:

  • NSPF Star Rating – 60 points
  • Geographical Comparison – 25 points
  • Diversity – 15 points
  • School Progress – no point value

Click here to download the presentation.

Organizational Performance Framework

SPCSA staff provided information to the Board about the Organizational Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The framework assesses whether an educational organization is effectively operated. Staff held listening sessions and working groups to collaboratively develop the framework. They also plan to host staff orientation sessions to walk through its implementation.

Click here to see the ratings scorecard. 

Click here to see the technical guide.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment 

Staff provided a preview of the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment. In compliance with AB462 (requiring the SPCSA to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools)– by July 30th, the SPCSA must prepare an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. It was noted that needs may change over time with a constantly evolving public school landscape. This evaluation will inform authorizing decisions and be updated annually. 

The Board discussed the public input process and the requirement to seek input from local school districts. 

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Growth Management Plan

The SPCSA is required to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools (including new schools, expansions, grade level expansions, and charter renewals). The plan considers statewide student performance, including data for specific groups and subgroups, and the academic needs of students in different geographic areas of the state. 

Staff introduced an approach to develop a Growth Management Plan by January 2020. The plan will be informed by the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment (discussed above). 

Click here to see an overview of the plan.

The SPCSA will present an update at the August Board meeting, and present a draft in November.

The Board Heard a Legislative Recap

The Board heard a recap on 2019 legislative action that impacts public charter schools, including the following highlights: 

  • AB219: Requires schools in the bottom 30% of performance with English Language Learners to create plans for improvement. Additionally, English Language Learners will receive access to state assessments in any published language provided.
  • SB321: Transitioning Nevada Achievement School District (ASD) schools to the SPCSA. This bill voids charter contracts as of July 2020. New contracts will be initiated under authorization of the SPCSA.
  • SB451: This bill allows for variable length contract renewal at the discretion of the SPCSA, between 3 and 10 years. 
  • SB441: Provides for separate regulation of virtual charter schools. SPCSA staff is working with the Department of Education on developing virtual charter regulations.
  • SB543: Replaces the 52 year old Nevada Plan with a student centered funding formula. The Nevada Plan is the approach by which the legislature allocates and distributes funds to School Districts across the state. 

Click here to see the full recap.

The Board Heard Staff Reports

  • Executive Director:
    • A total of 12 focus groups have been conducted with stakeholders. Highlights from those conversations include:
      • School leaders and board chairs discussed challenges and priorities. Major themes were around funding and budgeting, high quality talent acquisition and retention, and school safety.
      • Regarding the relationship between the SPCSA and schools themselves, schools shared the importance of understanding the unique context of individual schools, maintaining open and ongoing communication, transparency and consistency in messaging, common goal alignment, and clear expectations with support.
    • The SPCSA is in the process of filling two vacant positions. The new positions, effective October 1st, are focused on data and assessments and support staff.
  • Finance and Operations Team: 
    • The SPCSA is in the process of completing FY19 grant reporting. 
  • Authorizing Team:
    • Conducted 18 site evaluations and completed reports for 18 schools.
    • Staff is working with the school support team to track completion of next steps that come from site evaluations.
    • Staff is receiving training on classroom observation rubrics and criteria.
    • Staff is in the final stages of drafting a schedule for the FY19 school year to present to the Board.
  • School Support Team:
    • Staff conducted enrollment growth adjustment and pre-enrollment adjustment audits.
    • Staff conducted a collaborative Title 1 program review.
    • Staff is supporting schools with data reporting.
    • Several SPCSA members will attend the National Charter School Conference in Las Vegas June 30-July 3.

Long Range Board Calendar Updates:

The long range calendar format was updated to include all 12 months, plus the following additions: 

  • Requirements as a result of the passage of AB462
  • New school applications and renewals

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed Watch 6/27/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.


Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to Find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided testimony regarding the decision to eliminate the dean position in the Clark County School District.

Trustees Unanimously Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent agenda highlights:

  • Approval of a settlement for $500K (click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal). 
  • Grant applications and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), including:
    • Immunize Nevada
    • NSHE participation in FAFSA
    • English Language Learner programs

Trustees Approved Members of the Sex Education Committee

The Sex Education Committee is charged with reviewing the content and materials to be used in units of instruction on the human reporductive system, STDs/STIs, and sexual responsibility. The committee also makes recommendations to the Superintendent, who then makes recommendations to Trustees. 

The approved committee members are:

  • Medicine/Nursing: Diane Elmore (District A)
  • Counseling: Laura Deitsch (District E)
  • Religion: Dr. S. S. Rogers (District C)
  • Teacher: Jessica Maleskey (District A)
  • Parents: 
    • Erin Bilbray Kohn (District F)
    • Jodi Thornley (District B)
    • Bonnie Pruneda (District B)
    • Stephanie Valdez (District E)
    • Stephanie Zinna (District G)
  • Pupil: Arianna Ophir (District E)

Trustees Heard Updates from the Superintendent

Superintendent Jara provided a presentation to Trustees about recent budget changes. In addition to the $17 million savings from the removal of the dean position– a total of $7.4 million dollars will be reduced from the 2019-2020 budget from the following departments:

  • College, Career, Equity and School Choice Office 
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Unit 
  • Legal Services

Click here to see the presentation

Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Alternative options (in lieu of cutting the dean positions) were to eliminate:

  • Magnet programs
  • Performing arts
  • Athletics and athletic transportation
  • Transportation for secondary schools
  • Transportation for all students except those who the district is federally required to transport  

Superintendent Jara also provided information on school safety initiatives that will take effect following the removal of all dean positions. Student safety efforts for the 2019-2020 school years include:

  • 4 new canine officers 
  • An additional Resource Office for all high schools
  • A reserve officer program
  • Two staff training programs: Trauma 101 and De-escalation 

Additionally, two new student support positions have been introduced:

  1. Student Success Project Facilitator 
  2. Student Success Coordinator

These positions will be posted on June 28th, and principals can begin interviewing on July 3rd.

Trustees Approved Updates to CCSD Construction Bids Policy (7210) and the Purchasing Authority Policy (3311)

The construction bids policy addresses major differences that have occurred between construction bids and the final costs.

The following updates were made to the construction bids policy:

  • Changing the designee from Assistant Superintendent to the Chief of Facilities
  • Construction change orders cannot cumulatively exceed 3 percent of the original contract for new construction
  • Changes in services cannot cumulatively exceed 5% of the original contract.

Click here to see the policy.

Corresponding changes were made to the Purchasing Authority Policy

Board Approved Contract for COO and Chief of Staff

The new CCSD Chief Operating Officer is Michael Casey. Click here to see the contract. 

The new CCSD Chief of Staff is Christopher Bernier. Click here to see the contract.


Potential Future Agenda Items:

  • Feasibility of creating an Advisory Committee made up of in-school staff to advise the Superintendent.

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed Watch 6/13/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.


Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to Find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Many members of the public provided testimony to Trustees regarding the recent decision to cut 170 Dean positions at the Clark County School District. Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Trustees Heard a Presentation About the Removal of the Dean Position

Superintendent Jara provided a statement and brief presentation about his decision to eliminate the Dean role and displace current Deans. The Superintendent assured the public that school safety will continue to be a priority for the District.

Trustees Unanimously Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent agenda highlights:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Local Plan
  • IDEA: Early Childhood Project
  • Airforce Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit (JROTC)
  • Grant Submissions:
    • Victory Schools Authorization
    • Funds to continue to the Youthful Offender Program at High Desert State Prison
    • Nevada Ready 21 Technology Grant
    • Tesla Career & Technical Education Grant
  • Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)
  • Books for School Libraries
  • New members of Bond Oversight Committee: Al Davis & Eugene Lazaroff
  • Repairs & updates to a number of school buildings and playground facilities
  • Annual Membership to Council of Great City Schools

Trustees Repealed the CCSD Governance Policy E-2: Student Learning

The E-2: Student Learning policy relates to identifying strategies to improve student learning. This policy is being repealed because the active Focus 2024 strategic plan addresses this.

Click here to see the policy.

Trustees Approved Updates to CCSD Construction Bids Policy (7210) and the Purchasing Authority Policy (3311)

The construction bids policy addresses the major differences that have occurred between construction bids and the final costs.

The following updates were made to the construction bids policy:

  • Changing the designee from Assistant Superintendent to the Chief of Facilities
  • Construction change orders cannot cumulatively exceed 3 percent of the original contract for new construction
  • Changes in services cannot cumulatively exceed 5% of the original contract

Click here to see the policy.

Corresponding changes were made to the Purchasing Authority Policy.

Trustees Heard a Legislative Report

CCSD Staff provided a report to recap the end of the 2019 legislative session. The presentation focused on bills and priorities that were part of CCSD’s legislative platform, which include:

  • Modernizing the K-12 Funding Formula (SB543)
  • Preserving Ending Fund Balance (SB543)
  • Increasing Funding for School Safety (SB89, SB551, SB528)
  • Incentives for Title I Teachers (AB196)
  • Additional Resources for Read by Grade 3 (AB289)
  • Preserving an Elected School Board (Failure of AB491, AB57, SB105)
  • Continuation of Early Childhood Education (SB84, SB555)
  • Separate Revenue Stream to Support Vegas PBS (SB501)

Click here to see the presentation.


Potential Future Agenda Items:

  • Information about School Safety funding
  • Information about learning strategist placement
  • Review the decision to remove the Dean role, including the options that were considered, and how the decision was made.
  • Budget updates
  • Revisit governance policies

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed Watch 6/6/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on decisions being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.


Nevada State Board of Education

What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.

How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2019 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all State Board Members.


Thursday, June 6, 2019
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Ebert introduced the Board to two new members of the Superintendent’s cabinet:  

  • Felicia Gonzales: Deputy Superintendent of Teacher Effectiveness and Parent Engagement
  • Heidi Haartz: Deputy Superintendent for Business and Support Services

Board Heard Legislative Updates

Superintendent Ebert provided updates on the following legislation that the Department of Education is following:

  • AB289 – Read by Grade 3 provision updates to provide additional supports into 5th grade retention prevention [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB313 – Increased focus on computer literacy and computer science [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB314 – Related to promoting financial literacy via statewide financial literacy counsel and financial literacy seal for student diplomas [Status: Signed by the Governor]
  • AB235 – Related to implementation of mentorship programs [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB204 – Enhances suicide prevention programs [Status: Signed by the Governor]
  • SB89 – Related to SafeVoice program and describes school improvement plans created by school principals [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • AB219 – Relates to reporting information for English Language Learner achievement [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB467 – Extends Zoom and Victory program funds [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • AB78 – Transfers all schools approved by the Achievement School District to the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) and provides for the State Board of Education to appoint two members to the SPCSA Board. [Status: Signed by the Governor]

Funding Bills:

  • SB545 – Marijuana Excise Tax funding specifically designated to distributive school account (DSA) [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB555 – Increases statewide per pupil funding by approximately 10% [Status: Signed by the Governor]
  • SB 84  – State Pre-K programs & funding [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB551 – Makes appropriations for certain purposes relating to school safety and to provide supplemental support of the operation of the county school districts [Status: Submitted to the Governor]
  • AB309 – Authorizes counties to implement sales tax for schools. [Status: Delivered to the Governor]
  • SB543 – Revises how the state funds school districts [Status: Delivered to the Governor]

Board Approved the Consent Agenda

Click here to see the full consent agenda.

Board Heard a Presentation on the Great Teaching and Leading Fund Recommendations

The Board heard a presentation on the Review Team’s recommendations for Great Teaching and Leading Fund FY20-FY21 grants– pending the legislative allocation of available funds.

Click here to see the full presentation.

Board Approved Cohort Twenty of the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program (TNVS)

The Board heard about the Teach Nevada Scholarship program, including the success of the program, reconciliation for fiscal years 2016-2019, funding, and requests for FY20 scholarships. The Board approved no more than 200 Teach Nevada scholarships.

Board Heard a Presentation About the State of Education in Nevada

Data Insight Partners led a presentation about the state of education in Nevada– which included a review of student reading and math assessment results, national education rankings, and long-term education attainment. The Board discussed a need to counter negative stigmas about education in Nevada with strategic public relations and communications.

NOTE: The July State Board of Education meeting was rescheduled to July 17th.

Public Comment:

Members of the public requested the Board clarify the definition of students who are considered “At-Risk” in the weighted funding formula.


Potential Future Agenda Items:

  • Presentation on year-over-year funding (and SB555)
  • Ongoing updates to the implementation of the funding formula
  • Presentation on Census 2020 and its impact on education and funding
  • Discussion of bills related to chronic absenteeism and marketing
  • Accountability of low-performing schools following the abolishment of the Nevada Achievement School District (NV ASD).

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published: