1 December 2023
North Las Vegas’s city council is expected to reverse course on their appointment of Clark County high school teacher and City Councilman Isaac Barron to the district’s board of trustees amid legal questions about whether someone can hold those roles simultaneously.
The city council is considering appointing Dane Watson, an employee of the Clark County Education Association, the union that represents the district’s teachers, to the nonvoting seat instead at its Dec. 6 meeting, according to the agenda.
Barron was not available for an interview on Friday. But according to a staff report attached to the agenda item, Clark County School Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales sent an email to Barron on Nov. 6 expressing concerns over his appointment potentially conflicting with a district policy. The report states Barron had requested to appoint a new representative to the school board “in an effort not to distract from the board’s stated mission, to improve student learning.”
The trustee role is one of four nonvoting positions created in 2023 by AB175, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D-Las Vegas) and Assemblyman Toby Yurek (R-Henderson).
Barron’s appointment was unique because state and district policy have previously prevented district employees from serving on their school board.
A district regulation states that serving on the school board concurrently with employment presents an “unacceptable conflict of interest” under Nevada ethics laws and a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. Under the regulation, any employee of the district who is elected or appointed to a position on the school board must terminate his or her employment with the Clark County School District (CCSD) before being sworn into the role.
It’s also against state law to hold two elective offices at the same time, but it’s not clear whether the appointed, nonvoting nature of the role is considered an exception to these policies.
The proposal to appoint a different person to the role came after The Nevada Independent raised questions about a possible conflict with state law and district policy. Over the past week, the city declined to answer inquiries about whether Barron’s appointment conflicted with district policy, although it asserted in the staff report that the bill “permits the city to appoint a resident of its choosing and preempts CCSD board policy.”
The other incoming trustees were appointed by the Clark County commissioners and the Henderson and Las Vegas city councils. The four will join the seven elected members on the board in January.