Vegas-area schools chief wants $1M study

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The new superintendent of cash-strapped Las Vegas-area schools is telling school trustees he wants to spend up to $1 million in private funds for a thorough analysis of the district's $2 billion budget.

Clark County schools chief Dwight Jones told school board members that the money would go to temporarily hire analysts to analyze "our return on investment."

Jones told trustees Thursday that he had a $400,000 commitment from the Lindsay Foundation, and he projected completion of the study within eight months if he raises $1 million, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

"I'm not going to use general fund dollars," Jones said.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the money came from a $13.5 million donation the foundation made to the district in 2008 for empowerment schools. The newspaper said the former Colorado education commissioner planned to hire former colleagues to do the work.

Jeff Weiler, district chief financial officer, told the school board that the Las Vegas-based district is projected to have $180 million less to spend next year, even before state lawmakers deal with a projected $1 billion-plus state budget deficit. The Legislature convenes Feb. 7.

The Sun reported that Weiler attributed the district shortfall mainly to falling property tax receipts, and said teaching positions could be among the 2,500 jobs that would have to be eliminated.

The sprawling Clark County School District has about 18,000 teachers and just under 310,000 students at 357 campuses.

Weiler and Jones met with new Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and his staff earlier this month.

Weiler said Sandoval's aides told them they want to use school construction funds for operating expenses.

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