North Las Vegas campus to join ever-growing charter school field

January 16, 2017

Las Vegas Review-Journal
January 16, 2017

Legacy Traditional Schools was set to break ground on its first Nevada campus in North Las Vegas.

Legacy school leaders, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, city officials and residents were set to attend a ceremony Jan. 25 at the site of the school at La Madre Way and Valley Drive. The City Council approved plans for the school in October.

“There was a demand from Clark County School District parents for more educational options,” said Nicole Kirkley, principal at Legacy’s Surprise, Arizona, campus.

The school is set to open in August, Kirkley said, adding that it will have a traditional, back-to-the-basics educational approach.


Legacy uses a direct-instruction model, in which the children sit in rows facing the front of the room, Kirkley said.

The school focuses on reading, writing and math, with an emphasis on patriotism and citizenship, she said. Charter schools have more autonomy than typical public schools and offer additional programs. A school’s charter can be revoked if student-performance goals aren’t reached.

More than 30 charter schools in Southern Nevada report to the State Public Charter School Authority, Kirkley said.

Las Vegas-based Burke Construction will handle the $20 million project. The 80,717-square-foot facility is set to hold about 1,260 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It’s set to have 41 classrooms, offices, a gym, playgrounds, a kitchen, a cafeteria and athletic fields.

“Clark County School District has nearly 34,000 students enrolled in charter schools. Charter schools as a whole are more than 10 percent of the total enrollment in Clark County School District,” said Patrick Gavin, executive director of the State Public Charter School Authority.

This makes charter schools the third-largest public school system in the state, about two-thirds the size of Washoe County, he added. Gavin said he expects the charter school system to keep growing.

Charter schools receive the same operating dollars as public schools, but they are not eligible for the same capital funds, Gavin said. They are required to pay for facilities from their operating funds.

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