Nevada Voters Chime In on the State of Clark County School District
PHOENIX (August 28, 2023)- As tensions between the community and Clark County School District re-enter headlines, Noble Predictive Insights’ (NPI) latest Nevada Public Opinion Pulse (NVPOP) poll shows that voters in Clark County are concerned with three issues the district faces: size, strikes, and the superintendent.
This NVPOP was conducted from August 2nd – 4th, 2023. The survey sample was 798 Nevada registered voters with a margin of error of ± 3.47%. Among the 798 voters surveyed, 567 were from Clark County, the largest population of the state, yielding a margin of error of ± 4.12% with this group.
The Size of Clark County School District
Clark County School District is one of the largest school districts in the country with just over 300,000 students throughout the county. With most schools in the Las Vegas Valley and several more scattered across the rest of the county, most people agree that Clark County School District is too large and should be broken down into smaller districts (60%).
Parents are more likely to support the break-up of the school district (65%); however, more than half of voters who are not parents are also in favor of dividing the district (53%). Among parties, Democrats have the lowest level of support (56%) while Independents are the most supportive (66%). There is only a small difference between college-educated (62%) and non-college-educated (60%) voters. White voters were much more in favor of reducing the size of CCSD (66%) than Hispanic voters (57%) or those of another race (49%).
While voters in Clark County are in favor of this initiative, there would need to be a change to NRS 386.010, requiring the support of not just Clark County voters, but voters throughout the state. The most recent petition attempt (December of 2022) to get The Community Schools Initiative on the ballot in 2024 or in the last legislative session (2023) – which would have allowed cities to form the districts as opposed to the counties – failed.
“A majority of voters in Clark County want to break up the school district, but the current district division is under NRS 386.010, so the only route for dividing the district is through the state’s electoral process,” said NPI data analyst and Las Vegas local Maddison Westcott. “If those in Clark wish to break up the district, they will have to garner support from those who live throughout Nevada and not just in Clark through petition. It could be tough because those who live in small populous counties may not be aware of the issues in Clark.”
The Superintendent – Jesus Jara
While Dr. Jesus Jara has become a household name in southern Nevada, only one-quarter of voters in Clark County approve of the Superintendent, with most of his approval soft (19% somewhat approve). Meanwhile, most of his disapproval is hard (20% strongly disapprove).
Interestingly, parents are more likely to generally approve of Dr. Jara (29%) than those who are not parents (19%). Of those parents, those who currently have children under the age of 18 are most in favor of Dr. Jara (36%). Moreover, while over half of the Independents in this study (59%) had an opinion on Dr. Jara, they had the smallest amount of approval for him (18%). White voters tended to disapprove of Jara most (40%) while Hispanics (36%) and other minority groups (27%) are slightly less disapproving, with non-White, non-Hispanic voters being the only demographic that supports Jara (30%) more than they disapprove of him (27%).
Along with his low approval rating, the teacher’s union called for Jara’s resignation in May 2023, but Dr. Jara has made no indication that he will be resigning anytime soon.
The looming teachers’ strike is usually a subject of discourse as the school year approaches. With these discussions, NPI polled Clark County voters to obtain their opinions on teacher strikes. It should be noted that teachers striking in the state of Nevada at any time is currently illegal; however, the ability to unionize is not.
Interestingly, most voters in the county are in favor of teachers being able to legally strike (78%), with a near-majority believing teachers should be able to strike at any time (48%) and 31% believing they should be allowed to strike, but only when school is not in session. Less than one-quarter of voters believe teachers should not be allowed to strike at all (22%), including 9% who say there should be no punishment if they do.
Parents and non-parents alike are in favor of teachers being able to strike (78% and 79%, respectively). Parents are more supportive of strikes outside of school hours (33%) than those without children (27%), and those without children are more supportive of strikes at any time (52%) than parents (45%). Moreover, Democrats are the most supportive political party of teacher strikes (86%) and Independents are the least supportive (72%). Other meaningful splits in support for teacher strikes were found among gender, age, and ethnic groups:
· Women (82%) are more supportive than men (74%)
· Voters ages 18-54 (82%) are more supportive than those ages 55+ (73%)
· Voters who are not White or Hispanic are more supportive (82%)
Teachers clearly have support from Clark County voters to strike legally in the State of Nevada. To legalize striking for teachers in Nevada, the state would need to legalize striking for all state government employees, who are also impacted by the legality of striking.
“Nevadans know that teachers have a tough, thankless, essential job. So it’s not surprising that so many Clark County voters support allowing teachers to strike,” said NPI Chief of Research David Byler. “But a solid chunk of voters are wary of strikes during the school year. If going on strike becomes legal, teachers would not have unlimited public support.”
Methodology: **NOTE: Due to an error in the rural county subsample, NPI will only publish results from Clark County.** This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by Noble Predictive Insights from August 2nd - 4th, 2023 from a Nevada Statewide Registered Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 798 completed surveys, with a margin of error of ± 3.47%. Among the 798 voters surveyed, 563 were from Clark County, yielding a margin of error of ± 4.12% with this group. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Veronica Sutliff, Noble Predictive Insights, firstname.lastname@example.org, (602) 390-5248
Mike Noble, Noble Predictive Insights, email@example.com, (480) 313-1837
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