Las Vegas Sun

March 20, 2018

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District stalls on school report

The much-anticipated audit of the Clark County School District's special education department was still not available for public review this morning -- more than a week after it was delivered to School Board President Larry Mason.

A public release and discussion of the audit report was on Tuesday's School Board agenda, but the board voted not to discuss the document pending review by legal counsel.

The report has been in a legal nether world ever since.

The audit report, which was requested by the School Board, details consultants David Rostetter and Ed Sontag's findings on the financial management of the special education department. It is speculated the report outlines $1 million in waste.

Another wrinkle: The report, originally 140 pages long, has been edited by legal counsel to "130-135 pages," said School Board counsel Johnnie Rawlinson. She said the document contained "some very crucial legal concerns, not regarding names or titles, but ongoing legal suits."

Rawlinson said she completed her review of the report just before noon Thursday. She said she had also jointly reviewed the document with the school district's attorney, Bill Hoffman.

"As soon as I talk to Larry (Mason), he can make a decision on whether to release it," Rawlinson said Thursday.

About half an hour later, Mason confirmed he needed to discuss the report with Rawlinson, but said he was having difficulty getting in touch with her.

"We've been trying to reach each other on the phone, but haven't connected yet," Mason said. "As soon as I talk with Johnnie, we should make some kind of statement as to when we will release the report."

However, at 5 p.m. Thursday, Ray Willis, director of the district's public information office, said lawyers were still discussing the legal concerns of the report.

Following the final review of the audit report, the document will have to go to the district's graphic department for reproduction, then be distributed to School Board members before it is released to the public, Willis said. He estimated the report would be released sometime today.

Lois Tarkanian, School Board vice president, said she has not received any telephone calls from district officials since Tuesday's board meeting regarding the report.

"I have been receiving lots of calls from interested parties, including citizens, wondering what's going on with this," Tarkanian said. "I'll say the same thing I said at the School Board meeting: I believe that audit should be made public as soon as possible."

SUN REPORTER Debra D. Bass contributed to this story.