School board member Sandy Evans (Mason) plans to ask the board to create a working group to consider changing the name of JEB Stuart High School and report back with a recommendation by July 2017.
“After reading historical documents and arguments on both sides, considering all the community input to date, and discussing this with my colleagues on the school board, I do believe this high school should have a name that is more reflective and respectful of a diverse community,” Evans wrote in an email to constituents. “At the same time, we need a path that gives the community more time to have input into the decision and address key concerns.”
The proposal for a working group would be listed as new business on the school board’s June 30 agenda and as an action item for the July 28 meeting. If approved by the school board, “the working group would consist of students, parents, community members, alumni, and business and community leaders to be chosen by the superintendent in consultation with the board,” Evans states.
Comments from the public indicate “there are strong feelings for and against a name change,” Evans says. Because the most frequently cited objection is about the cost, “one of the working group’s main tasks would be to find viable solutions to address this barrier.”
“The working group would explore public-private partnerships to finance a name change; ways to prevent added burdens on the school’s booster clubs, PTSA, and Stuart school administration; the best method for transitioning from the old name to the new; proper records retention, and the best timing for such a change,” she says. “The working group would also solicit ideas for a new name while identifying ways to honor and preserve the school’s history, traditions and past achievements and to memorialize its decades as JEB Stuart High School.”