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July 29, 2015

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In search for schools chief, district to use same firm that brought in Dwight Jones

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Dwight Jones, the Clark County School Superintendent, is photographed in his office Thursday, January 20, 2011.

The Clark County School Board will hire a search firm to conduct a national search for a new superintendent.

The issue: On Thursday morning, the School Board appointed Deputy Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky as the interim superintendent in the wake of Superintendent Dwight Jones' sudden resignation last week.

The seven-member board is now looking for a permanent superintendent replacement, a process that could take up to a year and upwards of $75,000 to complete.

After a nearly 12-hour day of discussions, the School Board chose to hire Omaha-based McPherson & Jacobson to look for its next superintendent.

The vote: 6-1, with School Board member Linda Young being the sole dissenting vote. Young wished the board would conduct a request for proposal to find a suitable search firm.

The impact: Under its contract, which needs to be negotiated, the search firm would return with no fewer than four superintendent candidate names. If the board is unhappy with all of the candidates, the firm would re-do the search for free. The firm would also conduct another search for free if the next superintendent leaves before two years of service.

The contract with McPherson & Jacobson is expected to be finalized on March 21.

In April 2010 — when the firm was hired to find Jones — the School Board paid $60,000 for an eight-month search, which yielded three candidates - one of whom dropped leaving Jones and another candidate. The cost included consultant fees, travel expenses and advertising for the position.

Ideally, the School Board would like to appoint a permanent superintendent by October to December.

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The School Board also tabled a spirited debate over Skorkowsky's compensation.

School Board members Carolyn Edwards and Linda Young wanted to raise Skorkowsky's current salary of $144,000 by up to 50 percent to $216,000. Jones was paid a base salary of $270,000.

School Board member Erin Cranor was hesitant on the pay raise in light of teacher pay cuts last month. A $72,000 raise would equate to one teaching position, she argued.

Many teachers union members attending the meeting seemed to support hiring Skorkowsky permanently and paying him the same salary as Jones.

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