Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky announced his retirement in an address to the media Thursday.
After 30 years of service, Skorkowsky will fulfill his contract with CCSD and will leave the school district in June 2018.
In a statement, Skorkowsky said the decision to retire is his own, but he will now be able to “speak more clearly and address some key problems and problem makers head on, without holding back."
The announcement came after CCSD said it would have a budget shortfall of up to $80 million. The district has instituted a hiring freeze to deal with the shortfall and said it would have to start laying off staff.
Skorkowsky addressed the shortfall in his announcement. He apologized for not seeing the budget crisis coming, but he was quick to say critics were using the crisis against him.
"Unfortunately, some vocal critics of mine have made our current budget situation into a referendum on my leadership. That is not the case," he said.
Skorkowsky said his decision to retire allows him greater freedom to deal the attacks and address what called the "real issues."
Significantly, Skorkowsky was surrounded by five of the seven members of the Clark County School District Board of Trustees: Board president Deanna Wright, vice-president Linda Young, Carolyn Edwards, Lola Brooks, and Linda Cavazos. Missing from the lineup standing next to Skorkowsky were Trustees Kevin Child and Chris Garvey, who have been highly critical of the superintendent.
When asked why the two trustees were missing, Skorkowsky said: "I think it was important that I have my mentors and my people here. They're ladies that I have grown to love and trust and support."
Editor's note: The audio for this story contains both the speech and Skorkowsky's answers to the press. The speech ends at 17:30, and the news conference - including a statement by Deanna Wright - continues for another 13 minutes.
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