|The display case at Stuart High School.|
The School Board on July 28 has passed a resolution to establish the committee to consider the renaming and “to engage the community on this question in a public and transparent manner,” the memo states.”
The board action was in response to community members who believe it is no longer appropriate for a Fairfax County public school to be named in honor of a Confederate general. A large crowd attended a community meeting on the issue last May.
In October, then-Superintendent Karen Garza said the establishment of the committee would be delayed to give the interim superintendent the opportunity to appoint the committee members. That delay was announced amid complaints by opponents about the cost of a name change.
The Lockard memo was issued a couple of days after a small group of community members and student leaders who support a name change had scheduled a meeting with Lockard, other Fairfax County school officials, and school board chair Sandy Evans (Mason) to inquire why the process of naming a committee had been taking so long. They were told the committee would be appointed after the holidays.
Lockard’s memo says the ad hoc committee will be comprised of 12 to 20 individuals “representing a wide range of stakeholder groups and various perspectives on the issues under consideration.” Members will include students, parents, Stuart community members, alumni, and business and community leaders.
The superintendent will determine who will serve on the committee in consultation with the school board. Anyone interested in serving on the committee should contact Marty Smith, FCPS chief of staff, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to Tracey Skahen, email@example.com.
The committee is expected to complete its work in April, when it will present its recommendations to the board. A new superintendent is expected to come on board in July.
According to Lockard, the committee “will weigh the pros and cons of a name change; determine the extent of support for a change; explore public-private partnerships to finance any name change; ways to prevent added burdens on the school’s booster clubs, PTSA, and Stuart school administration; the best method for transitioning from an old name to a new one; and the best timing for such a change, if such a change is approved by the board.”
Community members hope the committee will be able to have a full, open, and transparent discussion on the name change without rancor or discord. They have also been urging Stuart Principal Penny Gros to encourage teachers to discuss the name change issue in class, but she has so far not committed to doing that.