Superintendent gets an A for this effort

Pat Skorkowsky is the career educator, not me, but I’m going to give him an A* anyway.

More on the asterisk later, but the Clark County School District superintendent deserves high marks for assembling a team of Las Vegas business and community leaders recently to examine the district’s budgeting practices.

For the district, it’s a chance to get a stamp of approval from some of the biggest hitters in town — execs from companies such as Station Casinos, NV Energy and Wells Fargo — or get input on how to do a better job.

For the community, it’s an indication that Skorkowsky is serious about his commitment to make the district more accountable to the public.

The end game? It’s either to find ways to make CCSD’s state funding go farther or build a case to lawmakers that the district is underfunded.

Because no amount of pleading will convince legislators that the district isn’t wasting tax dollars, Skorkowsky raised the stakes by bringing in a group of experts to prove to lawmakers that the budgets are solid or suggest fixes that will give the district credibility in Carson City.

Shrewd move. Given that fiscal conservatives will preach until their vocal cords are in tatters that the private sector can do a better job of managing money than the government, how could the tightwads in the Legislature not act if the process suggests the district needs more funding?

But now for that asterisk.

The A is a semester grade. The final has yet to be administered.

That’s because there’s another possible outcome of the group’s review, and it could be disastrous for the district. If CCSD doesn’t follow the group’s recommendations, or doesn’t provide it with the input it will need to make its assessment, the whole thing will blow up in Skorkowsky’s face.

The commitment to accountability will be gone. The case to be made to legislators will crumble. The children of Clark County will limp along, undersupported and facing a crippling disadvantage compared with their peers in other states.

But Skorkowsky knows all that. And I’ve got to believe that someone with the smarts to dream up the community group approach — not to mention the smarts to rise from an elementary school teacher to superintendent — understands that follow-through is critical.

Skorkowsky didn’t get where he is by failing tests. Here’s hoping the next grade will be an A on the final.

Tags: The Sunday