top of page

4/9 Board Meeting Recap

Did you miss the Board meeting? Don't want to watch hours of the recording?

Below is a recap of the April 9th Regular Meeting of the Board.  We've included timestamps on most of the agenda items. 

Overview of Items and Actions (or Inactions) from the April 9th Board Meeting

  • Consent Agenda Item 3C, Voucher Run (time stamp 00:50:21:00-1:12:11)

Gilbert Law Firm March 2024 bill is $18,157.10 (total since 8/23, $292,459.27)


Trustee Gilkerson pulled voucher 2493 on Joey Gilbert Law Firm’s billing for the month of March.  She noted that it appears that Mr. Gilbert has returned to charging $325 an hour for travel instead of the GSA rate.  She also noted that this bill is actually over $2,000 lower because of a credit from a billing error in February 2024.  In addition, she asked specifically about one of the Trustees (many in the audience inferred it was Mr. Burns) making 26 phone calls in a period of 10 days which cost the school district nearly $3,000.  After this review, the board approved 7-0 to approve the consent items except voucher 2493.  Mr. Burns held a separate vote on this item, and it passed 4-3 with Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen supporting the payment (even with errors) to Gilbert Law Firm.  Bill continues to be an issue.  Mr. Gilbert said that any trustees or district staff can contact his office with questions about billing, and he will not charge for this.  


  • Item 4, Appointment of Acting Superintendent to Superintendent of Schools (time stamp 1:12:27-2:12:14)

After the initial public comment with many in support of Mrs. Dwyer’s appointment and some in opposition, Trustee Wagstaff moved to discontinue the process of searching for a superintendent and to appoint Jeannie Dwyer as the superintendent for DCSD.  Trustee Kangas seconded it.  The board discussed the viability of appointing her as the permanent superintendent.  During the discussion, Trustee Englekirk asked Mrs. Dwyer if she was not appointed, would she apply and interview to become superintendent. She declined.  A long discussion ensued about topics, including Modern Teacher, EPIC Learning, DEI, a reported complaints from parents by Trustee Englekirk about transgender students in non biological bathrooms, the teaching about Thanksgiving and that the Pilgrims poisoned Native Americans, and a female student leaving a classroom crying because she felt guilty about being Caucasian.   After over 50 minutes, the board voted on the motion, and it failed 4 to 3 with Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen voting against the appointment.  Overall, the questioning of Mrs. Dwyer’s capabilities as well as those of district leadership and the clear questioning of EPIC learning were inappropriate and disrespectful.


  • Item 5, Search Process for Superintendent (time stamp 2:12:16-3:20:05)

The board next discussed the process for checking on the viability of the thirteen or more candidate applications the school district has received since the first superintendent search and interviews and through May 3, 2024.  Mrs. Dwyer indicated that she could contact all of the candidates to see if they are still interested and if their applications are complete.  Trustees Gilkerson and Wagstaff expressed some concern about the vagueness of some of the indicators in the screening process.  After some discussion, the board decided to keep the process as it was before.  The trustees also discussed how to conduct background checks, and Mr. Gilbert indicated that he knows a number of private investigators whom the district could hire for this purpose.  After a long period of trying to figure out how to get the applications posted for the public, the trustees time to screen those applications, and collect and post the results of the screening prior to the May 21st board meeting, Trustee Englekirk moved to establish the timeline and steps that would allow for the board to review the results of the screening and then, at the meeting, narrow the field of candidates for interview.  The motion passed 4-3 with Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen voting for it.  We will watch carefully every step in this process to ensure it complies with Nevada’s Open Meeting Laws. 


  • Item 6, Consideration of 2024-2025 Tentative Budget

Mrs. Sue Estes, DCSD’s Director of Finances, explained that the 2024-2025 budget will reduce in revenues because of declining enrollment and because the state no longer applies the “hold harmless” adjustment for school districts that drop in enrollment.  She noted that all departments will face budget cuts and that the administration is currently reducing staffing through attrition and reduction in force.  She said that it will be a challenging budget cycle next year; however, she is confident that the prepared budget will succeed in best meeting the needs of students, school, and staff.


  • Items 7&8, Capital Improvements for Carpet and Painting

These items passed without much discussion or concern.


  • Item 9, Family Life Sex Education AIDS Advisory Committee Update of Instructional Materials

This committee reviewed materials related to human trafficking and sex trafficking in order to make students aware of what it is and the dangers and warning signs.  The passed a motion 7-0 to include these materials as part of the sex education and Health curriculum for grades 6-9.  Slides and a video are available for review in the agenda.


  • Item 10, Student Representative for Board Meetings (time stamp 3:52:10-4:25:00)

    The board discussed the proposed policy and other ideas to bring on one or more student representatives to sit with the board and provide input on student-related items.  The discussion moved to how best to represent the three high schools with a possible result being to form a club that has a staff sponsor to facilitate training and to select a student to attend each regular meeting.  Trustees Dickerson and Jansen were opposed and felt that having a student speak near the start of each board meeting was sufficient.  Trustee Burns did invite Maddy Kennedy to give her input, and she thought it was a good idea to have a group of students to work together to bring information to the board as a whole.  Trustee Englekirk moved to approve a first reading with changes, and Trustee Wagstaff seconded it.  It passed 5-2, with Burns, Englekirk, Gilkerson, Kangas, and Wagstaff in support; Dickerson and Jansen opposed. 


  • Item 11, Legal Counsel Presentation of its Role as General Counsel and Contractual Obligations 

  Joey Gilbert opened for questions from Trustees concerning his existing contract and processes in working with the board of trustees and the district.  The main points that came forward are that in the contract, there are references to exhibits that do not exist, there was an increase of fees for outside attorneys from $300 in the first contract and $325 in the second.  As well, Trustee Wagstaff noted again that the board as a whole has never voted on Gilbert’s contract, so she continues to question the legality of it.  He pushed back that it is a binding document.  He said that he is willing to talk with any of the board members for more input and will propose a version with all of their recommended changes that they can then continue to revise until they agendize it for approval by the board. 

Of note, Mr. Gilbert said that the reason he was hired was to help remove Keith Lewis as superintendent.  This was the first time he has said this publicly (time stamp 4:40:00-4:41:00). 


  • Item 12, Writ of Mandamus Settlement Agreement (time stamp 4:49:46-5:08:58)

    This relates to public records requests made by Rich McGuffin and four community members as petitioners  from May and July 2023.  The petitioners contend that  four school board members, David Burns, Katherine Dickerson, Doug Englekirk, and Susan Jansen along with Douglas County School District, did not provide all documents that they should have.  At an evidentiary hearing on March 27, 2024, the four trustees and the school district agreed to settle the legal matter.  

  They agree to conduct a full search of the district's email and phone records to comply with the public records requests, submit the four trustees' personal phones to a third party to search  them for relevant text messages, pay for the legal costs of the petitioners, and the school board will participate in a training to understand the responsibilities for public officials in NRS 239.  

Mr. Gilbert provided background on the process, the portion of the hearing that took place, and the desire for both the petitioners and respondents (the four trustees and the school district) to settle. He also advised the four trustees related to the case to abstain in voting “because of a perceived conflict of interest.”  Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen all abstained.  Trustees Gilkerson, Kangas, and Wagstaff indicated that they had engaged the pro bono services of Mrs. Hales as their legal counsel in this matter.  They asked for a short recess to contact her.  When they came back, Trustee Wagstaff moved to deny accepting the settlement so that Mr. Gilbert could make a better deal for the school district.  The motion was seconded by Trustee Kangas, and Gilkerson, Kangas, and Wagstaff voted for the motion, which refused to accept the current settlement.

This most likely will result in the evidentiary hearing resuming.  The petitioners simply seek to have all requested records and communication provided to them and to have growing legal fees paid.  We will see what happens next.


  • Because of the late hour and the meeting being at the lake, it appeared that Trustee Burns tabled the remaining agenda items and, after public comment, adjourned the meeting.


Concerned about an Item Action? 

Click the button below to email all 7 of the Trustees. 

Meeting Recording

Click the button below to view the recordings of past meetings.

bottom of page