CCSD could rename Kit Carson Elementary School due to conflicted legacy

Local News

Photo of Kit Carson Elementary School from Google Earth

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A rescinding of name: That’s what the Clark County School District is considering doing to one of its elementary schools.

CCSD is planing to rename Kit Carson Elementary School under District Policy 7223, the Naming of Schools and Education-Related Facilities. Policy 7223 section VII.C states: Sufficient cause to rescind the name of an educational facility or portion thereof exists when, as determined by the Board, the individual, corporation, foundation, association, or entity for which the school or a portion thereof is named has been convicted of a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude, or participated in any other disreputable behavior which would have a negative reflection or would bring discredit upon CCSD students or staff. 

Kit Carson was a frontiersman, guide, and soldier who played a pivotal role in the settlement of the West during the 19th century.

Kit Carson, photo from Wikipedia

As tribute to Carson and his exploration of present-day Nevada, he is the namesake of Nevada’s state capital, a river in Northern Nevada, and a Clark County School District elementary school, which was built and named after him in 1956. 

However, Kit Carson has a conflicted legacy, CCSD said. Carson was responsible for the cruel treatment and deaths of hundreds of Navajo Indians, most notably in the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people in what is known as the “Long Walk of the Navajo.” 

Kit Carson Elementary School was named prior to current policy guidelines for the naming of elementary schools. Policy 7223 section IV.C states: Elementary schools will be named for outstanding former CCSD personnel; and former school board Trustees who have demonstrated exceptional leadership locally in the field of education in Clark County and have consistently demonstrated the character to inspire students; or for outstanding individuals who are not educators by profession but serve as a positive role model to children and the community, and who have demonstrated exceptional leadership locally toward the advancement of education or humanity in Clark County. 

While guidance for rescinding school names was not added to Policy 7223 until 2008, the Board of School Trustees set precedence for this action in the 1999 action to change the name of Madison Elementary School to Wendell P. Williams Elementary School. 

The costs associated with changing the school name are approximated to range from $29,000 to $40,500, including: 

  • $7,000 – 15,000 for school marquee refresh or replacement 
  • $6,000 for new exterior school name sign 
  • $5,000 to repaint cafeteria signage 
  • $6,000 to replace embedded flooring 
  • $2,500 School rebranding through the Graphic Arts Center (logo, stationery, business cards, newsletter masthead, pocket folders, etc.) 
  • $3,000 Web site refresh 
  • Up to $3,000 for any additional signage on school grounds 

When a name change is requested by a school, Policy 7223 section IV.H.6 it states the requesting school will be responsible for all costs associated with implementing the name change, including, but not limited to building signage, marquee, letterhead, web site, murals, etc. 

However, as this name change is not being requested by the school but would instead be a Board action in rare circumstances, an alternate funding source should be discussed, CCSD said. 

Although Kit Carson ES is not currently on the schedule to receive a replacement school, the large marquee signage expense could potentially be postponed until future capital improvements are planned. Discussion and possible action to rescind the name of the Kit Carson Elementary School and to review potential costs associated with renaming the school is recommended.

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