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5/21 Board Meeting Recap

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

Below is a recap of the May 21st Regular Meeting of the Board.  We've included timestamps on most of the agenda items. 

Overview of Items and Actions (or Inactions) from the May 21 Board Meeting

  • Item 3, Special Counsel Report on Investigation.  Unfortunately, the Special Counsel for Marquis Aurbach was not present at the meeting, and the district legal counsel did not have the letter of findings and recommendations for the Trustees or the public to view prior to the meeting.  Therefore, the board tabled this item.  Since the meeting, the district has posted the letter of findings and recommendations from Marquis Aurbach Law Firm.  It says that the district has been provided with a confidential report of findings and provides a list of recommendations about processes for documenting and handling performance evaluations.  No finding of anything inappropriate is presented in this letter.  This investigation cost the school district over $8,600 and was orchestrated by Joey Gilbert.

  • Item 4, Consent Agenda.  Mrs. Gilkerson noted that Joey Gilbert Law failed to credit DCSD for overcharges related to travel from April.  Kendra Jepsen said this would be corrected by next month.  Mrs. Gilkerson also shared that another trustee made phone calls to Joey Gilbert on 18 of the 19 days of the billing period totaling over $700 in cost to the district.

  • Item 5, Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget for 2024-2025.  Trustees spent little time discussing the budget and voted 7-0 to accept the tentative budget for next year.  Mrs. Estes, the district’s Director of Business Services, noted that with the new system for calculating funding based on pupil enrollment each month, the district was reduced by 6.2 million dollars this year, and she estimates a similar drop in revenue for 2024-2025.  This is very concerning.

  • Item 11, Superintendent Search.  The individual trustee’s ranking for each candidate were posted and available prior to the meeting.  The original rankings had errors in Trustee Burns’s and Trustee Jansen’s scores.  They explained that because they could not understand the electronic, digital form, they received printed copies and filled in their scores and adjusted the weight for scores.  This generated quite a bit of public comment at the beginning of the meeting, and it is important to note that two members of WDABB discovered the inaccurate ranking sheets.  The adjustments Burns and Jansen made created lower scores for all candidates and range of decrease between one percent to six percent.  These members reported their findings to the district, and the school district corrected and reposted Burns’s and Jansen’s scores.  As a result, the top three candidates were Angelo Alvarado, Pat Peters, and Louise Simson.  Mr. Burns cited NRS that he believed would disqualify Pat Peters due to potential nepotism.  This viewpoint, however, was not supported by legal counsel.  The board approved to contact these three candidates for interviews at the June regular meeting.  We will keep you informed of activities and details related to the hiring process.

  • Item 12, Presentation of Legal Contract.  Mr. Gilbert, with assistance from Kendra Jepsen, presented an updated version of his legal firm’s contract with DCSD.  After discussion, questions, and a request from Mr. Kangas to have the contract reviewed by an independent party like the district attorney’s office; Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen voted to approve the new contract.  As a result, they are fully responsible for its implementation and results from Joey Gilbert Law’s work for the district.

  • Item 13, Legal Contract for Services for Investigation into Formal Complaint.  The district, after a recommendation from Pool Pac, the district’s liability insurance carrier, considered hiring an outside law firm to investigate complaints raised by former Human Resources Director, Adam Dedmon.  The allegations involve at least two board members.  After some deliberation, the board voted to hire Ogletree Deakins to conduct an independent investigation.  Stay tuned.

  • Items 18-22 all relate to the Writ of Mandamus lawsuit against the school district and Trustees Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen.  Item 18 proposed revisiting the March 27th settlement offer to amend it and/or accept it.  This was brought forward due to a possible Open Meeting Violation alleged to have occurred at the April 9th school board meeting when Trustees Gilkerson, Kangas, and Wagstaff took a break during the discussion of this topic to consult their legal counsel.    Gilbert Law Firm recommended either referring this item to the Ethics Committee or allowing the superintendent to address the possible settlement.  After further discussion, Trustee Wagstaff moved to reject the settlement from March 27th and directed legal counsel to contact the Petitioner’s attorney to negotiate a better offer for the district.  The motion was seconded, and Trustees Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen abstained from voting because of a “perceived conflict of interest.”  Trustees Gilkerson, Kangas, and Wagstaff voted to reject the settlement and for the district to negotiate a potentially better deal and to correct the alleged Open Meeting Law violation.  So no settlement is accepted at this point.

  • Item 19 would have the board direct Mrs. Dwyer to the district Information and Technology Director to search the district’s server for all pertinent records related to the May and July 2023 Public Records Requests.  Mrs. Dwyer indicated that this had already been done, so no action was needed or taken.

  • Item 20 sought to waive attorney and client privilege and allow the public to see the bills associated with Sullivan Law from Las Vegas and Joey Gilbert Law.  After some discussion, Burns, Dickerson, Englekirk, and Jansen voted against the motion to waive this privilege, so any bills or invoices related to the district’s bills will be redacted.

  • Items 21 and 22 proposed having the superintendent secure legal counsel for DCSD and a separate legal representative for the four trustees involved in the Writ.  On the four trustees’ representation, the original recommendation indicated that if any of them had acted outside the scope of their work as trustees, they would not be indemnified.  Trustees Dickerson and Jansen opposed having this language in the motion; therefore, both motions were approved without any warning that one or more board members may face financial responsibility for legal costs if the judge determines they may have been inappropriately involved in failing to reveal records that were part of a legitimate public records request.   The board approved both motions to secure legal counsel. 

  • Prior to the close of the meeting and during final public comment, Mrs. Jansen left the meeting before it ended.  

  • Please continue to follow what is happening with the school board and the specific votes and actions of the trustees.  We need to continue to participate and hold all members of the board accountable for their decisions, actions, and votes.

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Meeting Recording

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