Nellis expands education options for elementary-age dependents

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U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Lomie G. Heard Elementary School was constructed on Nellis Air Force Base in 1951 and will no longer be part of the Clark County School District (CCSD) at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. CCSD leases the land on Nellis AFB where Lomie G. Heard is located. The lease will expire at the end of the current school year and the U.S. Air Force is currently in negotiations with Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas to bring a public charter school on base. CASLV, which will be free for students to attend, plans to temporarily operate out of the Lomie G. Heard facility while construction of the new permanent campus is built.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, elementary-age children of Department of Defense employees will have the option of attending an on-base public charter school.
Lomie G. Heard Elementary School, the current on-base school which was constructed on Nellis Air Force Base in 1951, will no longer be part of the Clark County School District (CCSD) at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
CCSD leases the land on Nellis AFB where Lomie G. Heard is located. The lease will expire at the end of the current school year and the U.S. Air Force is currently in negotiations with Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas to bring a public charter school on base.
“Nellis Air Force Base and the CCSD have had a long and mutually-beneficial relationship,” said Col. Richard Boutwell, 99th Air Base Wing commander. “Lomie G. Heard Elementary School and their wonderful staff have inspired multiple generations of military children and laid the foundation for their futures.
“We had a unique opportunity to partner with an established Nevada public charter school — Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas — that not only brings a great academic program, but plans to build a new kindergarten through eighth grade school at no cost to the Air Force,” Boutwell said. “The facility will be within the Landings Housing complex and is expected to be ready for use starting in the 2018 academic year. A new school is simply something neither the U.S. Air Force nor CCSD could realistically expect to be able to do in the foreseeable future. This really is a great opportunity for our children.”
CASLV, which will be free for students to attend, plans to temporarily operate out of the Lomie G. Heard facility while construction of the new permanent campus is built.
Prospective students will need to register for the new school before they can attend classes there. The Clark County School District Attendance Zone Advisory Committee has proposed rezoning current Lomie G. Heard students to attend Zel and Mary Lowman or J.E. Manch Elementary Schools just outside the Landings Gate on Craig Road. The school board will meet in February to finalize the proposal. Parents can have their children bused to one of these schools by CCSD or elect to have them attend a private school, homeschool, public charter, or magnet school of their choosing.
“This gives our military families more choices, and ultimately, more control,” said Carol Padilla, 99th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer. “This has been a lot of work for a lot of people, but I am excited about a new school.”
The new school is planning to accommodate 600 students from kindergarten through fifth grade in the existing Lomie G. Heard facility, but will expand to 800 students from kindergarten through eighth grade once the new facility is completed. CASLV also operates four other campuses in the Las Vegas area.
Per recent changes in Nevada legislation, dependent children of DOD personnel will have priority in enrolling in the new school — active duty, then government employees. If there are not enough students from Nellis AFB personnel to fill the seats, the school will offer the remaining positions to non-DOD-affiliated students. If the non-DOD-affiliated students are accepted to the school, their parent(s) or guardian(s) will have to pass the standard background check to be granted base access.
“The leadership team here has taken into account many factors and concerns expressed by parents over the past few years and is working with CCSD and a contractor to put your children in the best position possible to continue receiving a high-quality education,” Boutwell said. “I’m thankful for everything the CCSD has provided our families and will continue to provide them as we transition in the upcoming months.
“While everything is moving along well, we are in the final negotiations for the long-term lease that will enable the new facility to be built,” Boutwell said.
The 99th ABW will be holding a school town hall meeting for parents and guardians at the Nellis Base Theater, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. CASLV is planning to give a short presentation on what their program will offer.
Student registration for CASLV is now open and can be found at http://www.caslv.org/admission.
For more information about the charter school, please contact CASLV at 702-776-6529, extension 106 or visit their website at http://www.caslv.org. For more information about other schooling options, please contact the 99th FSS School Liaison Officer at 702-652-2156.