Nevada’s education superintendent reappointed |

Nevada’s education superintendent reappointed

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Keith Rheault has been reappointed Nevada’s superintendent of education.

The Board of Education voted Friday to keep Rheault in charge of the Department of Education for another three years. He has been with the department for 24 years, and superintendent since 2004.

Board President Anthony Ruggierro said, “Given the economic situation at this time I think it would be imprudent to change leadership of the department,” adding that the board has full faith in Rheault.

Ruggierro said his recommendation would be that the board look into getting Rheault another deputy superintendent to take some of the workload off of the superintendent, who makes $120,000 a year. He currently has two deputies: Gloria Dopf, who handles instructional, research and evaluative services, and Jim Wells who handles administrative and financial services.

Ruggierro said he would recommend adding a legislative deputy “to deal with those requests on a daily basis because it is so time-consuming for you.”

In the discussion of Rheault’s work performance, members asked a number of questions about the potential for further state budget cuts. Gov. Jim Gibbons has asked agencies to tell him what the damage would be with either a 1.4 percent or 3 percent reduction to existing budgets.

Rheault said his department directly receives about $13 million and that half of that goes to the contracts for school assessments and student testing under No Child Left Behind.

“You can’t cut a contract once you’ve signed it,” he said.

In addition, he said $2.7 million has been committed to provide team leaders for school support programs, which also can’t be cut.

“The only other place to save is in salaries,” he said.

Rheault said a 1 percent cut to the remaining $5 million in his budget is about $50,000, meaning that a 2 percent budget cut would cost him about two staff positions. He has about 150 employees in his department, overseeing kindergarten through 12th-grade education, student testing, and charter schools.

The vote to approve Rheault to continue as superintendent was unanimous except for member Dave Cook of Carson City who abstained.