The Clark County School District is set to have a new superintendent.
The board of trustees voted 4-2 on Wednesday to start contract negotiations with Jesus Jara to run the nation's fifth-largest school district.
Right now, Jara is a deputy superintendent with Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida.
He'll have a lot on his plate, from reorganization to negotiations with the teachers' union.
John Vellardita is head of the Clark County Education Association. He told State of Nevada the union is going to "embrace that decision and hopefully build a good relationship and try to repair some things that are in high order of need of repair."
The vote for Jara was the second one by the board. The first one was for the district's chief academic officer Mike Barton. Barton did not get a majority of votes.
Trustee Linda Young abstained from voting after Barton was rejected.
Vellardita said he is not surprised by the board's split vote. He said the board is divided.
"It is not a good situation for anybody coming in to not have full support of the board," he said. "The minority faction that wanted somebody else had strong opinions for that, and there was support for that candidacy."
But Vellardita said the union isn't going to look at back at the vote. Instead, it wants to look forward to how it is going to work with the new superintendent.
And there is a lot of work to be done, according to Vellardita. He said there are significant labor issues that still need to be addressed between his union and CCSD.
"The new superintendent coming in is inheriting that problem," he said. "That first and foremost is something they have to have a solution for."
There is also the issue of getting the necessary funding from Carson City for Southern Nevada schools.
Vellardita said navigating Nevada politics was not soon-to-be retired superintendent Pat Skorkowsky's strong suit. He's hoping Jara will do a better job of advocating for the money needed.
"You gotta be a very strong advocate and proponent up in Carson City, [to] build bridges to try to draw down the type of resources we need," he said.
And finally, one of the biggest tasks ahead is implementing the district's reorganization. The district is being decentralized and giving more power to individual schools.
If contract negotiations go as planned, Jara will start work as the superintendent in June, when Skorkowsky's tenure ends.
John Vellardita, chair, Clark County Education Association
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