A wedge issue?

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By Optic Editorial Board

It’s been mentioned though not emphasized, but a recent West Las Vegas School Board meeting suggests that it’s already creating some friction between the Meadow City’s two school districts. We’re talking about the east side’s new four-day school week, and how it’s going to go over on the west side.

At a West board meeting a couple of weeks ago, the repercussions of the Las Vegas City Schools’ new schedule spilled over, causing a direct impact on one of West’s citywide programs, Head Start, which has classrooms at East’s Los Niños Elementary School.

Of the 195 children in the Head Start program, 60 are at Los Niños.

And because of East’s new schedule, Head Start Director Joseph Griego said he too must abide by the four-day schedule at Los Niños — a decision that didn’t sit well with West’s school board members. “We never changed to a four-day (week),” board Chairman Gary Gold said, obviously frustrated by the adverse impact it was going to have with West’s program.

You may remember that a few months ago Gold spoke up in favor of the administrative consolidation of the two school districts. That was, in our view, a big step in the right direction — the two districts would do well to unify their administrative operations. But now that the East and West schools are on such different schedules, such talk may be even further away than it ever was before.

Of course, no one has taken any serious action toward administrative consolidation, so expectations aren’t being shattered. Ultimately, it may be decided by the state, which could force the issue by holding back funding, so we’re not holding our breath that anything is going to be done locally. Only now, with conflicting schedules, we expect even less.

The schedules, however, invite other concerns. One big concern stems from the fact that, on Fridays, East students will be roaming around town while West students will be tied to their classrooms. The result could be increased Friday truancy, especially at West High School. Then there’s the end of the districts’ school days — East’s days are now longer than West’s. Will this cause problems as well?

These different schedules may in fact cause East and West to drift further apart. Anticipate it to get worse if, at the very least, communications between the districts aren’t improved.