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Friday, September 22, 2017

Superintendent will present five options to school board on renaming JEB Stuart High School

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced Sept. 22 that his recommendation for a new name for JEB Stuart High School will be the top five names selected during the community vote on Sept. 16.

FCPS estimates the total cost of a totally new name change would be $800,620. The cost of changing to Stuart would be $512,572.

The biggest cost difference would be for athletics, with the cost for keeping Stuart estimated at $143,770 and changing to a new name $341,818. The cost for performing arts would be $60,000 vs. $150,000.

Either way, these costs would be the same: $192,387 in capital costs, $85,000 for equipment, and $31,415 for “other.

Brabrand is proposing FCPS set up a website to accept donations to offset the cost of the name change.

Seventy-three names were on the ballot during the community vote, and 932 households voted. People who live within the Stuart attendance area were allowed to vote for their first, second, and third choice, with those choices given three, two, and one points.

Here the total points for the top five names: Stuart - 917, Marshall - 763, Johns - 737, Peace Valley - 494, and Mendez - 328. The 73 names on the ballot were suggested by the public during a community meeting on Sept. 9.

The name change would be completed by the 2019-20 school year.

Those names are Stuart, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Rose Johns, Peace Valley, and Louis G. Mendez Jr.. Similar names were combined.

Brabrand will present his recommendation to the school board during its regular business meeting on Sept. 28. The school board will have a work session on Oct. 16 and will take action on Oct. 26.


  1. Well, let's see...Headless Stuart is a silly "compromise" choice. It will only create more ridicule and dissension. That alone almost guarantees the School Board will choose it. However, in the unlikely event that lightning strikes, either Marshall or Johns have considerable merit. I prefer Marshall because of the late Justice's exemplary career. Mendez is too obscure and Peace Valley sounds like a cemetery. I wish Vegas would give me odds on the outcome. - Sparky

  2. Can't see the School Board spending $500,000 for a name that still honors a Confederate general.

    Can't do Marshall or Johns, either. There's another Marshall High and Johns would be a very unfortunate name for a high school.

    That leaves Peace Valley and Mendez. Peace Valley is neutral, but sounds like an afternoon teen special. Mendez isn't well known, but neither was James Robinson when that school was opened, and few know who W.T. Woodson was. Plus, Mendez is a war hero and ex-military, so his choice would be a good compromise. Brabrand was smart to include him in the recommendation.

  3. Spending 500k for a the same name is the most laughable thing I have heard. For 300k more we can have a new name and move on. Maybe the people that want to keep the confederate name can use there UDC and SCV cards to ask for discounts.

    1. l'm convinced that many of those voters who chose Headless Stuart were less interested in promoting compromise or in saving money than in demonstrating their opposition to the proposed name change. The School Board unilaterally added Headless Stuart to the ballot. Accordingly, before this matter proceeds, it's incumbent upon the School Board to determine if Headless Stuart is, in fact, a protest vote. If so, that name should the removed from consideration. - Sparky

    2. ^ Bingo!

  4. It is inconceivable that the board would vote to change the name and then proceed to keep a truncated version of it as the new "Stuart" name. Rejecting two civil rights heroes in favor of a treasonous white supremacist is a non-starter in the post-Charlottesville era. I would split the difference and name it Marshall-Johns. That would help distinguish the school from the other Marshall high school.

    1. Remember, the School Board asked community members to consider the name "Stuart High School." In their resolution they directed staff to "start the renaming process this fall and that as part of that process--in the spirit of compromise and in recognition of the need to minimize costs as well as the desire for continuity by alumni--staff request that the Stuart community consider “Stuart High School” as the new name. The Board further directs staff to create a mechanism for private funding, with the expectation that private funding will pay for a substantial portion of the costs."

  5. The language in the School Board resolution allowed for the possibility that the community might view "Stuart HS" as an acceptable compromise. The community has voted and made clear that it doesn't - most voted for other names and, in total, Stuart received only 18% of the votes cast. The incumbent has been voted out of office.

  6. It baffles me how the School Board could believe that compromise can be reached over a hot button social issue like this one. Putting Headless Stuart on the ballot merely reflects yet another characteristic instance of indecision by the School Board. - Sparky

  7. I personally do not believe the name change should be done because of the tax dollars spent. We could use that money toward making a difference, in education, getting students to graduate and becoming productive citizens and most importantly once again not erase history but to learn from it. I am fed up with the waste of FFC and their use of my tax dollar. Put the money to better use for goodness sake.

  8. 1. The school board offered "Stuart" in the spirit of compromise.
    2. "Stuart" received the most votes in the Sept 16 election.
    What is the problem??? The board offered and the voters accepted. This is about the 4th time that voters have expressed the same sentiments.
    The local news reported last week that this whole issue came about because a "handful" of disgruntled students petitioned the school board. I don't know exactly how many a "handful" is but it's not very many. Why don't the stated wishes of students and other community residents be considered for a change?? The do gooders would have us believe that the results of these votes are skewed in such a way that "Stuart" did not win. But the facts are inescapable;"Stuart" got more votes than any other candidate. And in previous votes or polls "leave the name as is" got more votes than any other choice.

    T.R. Hopkins
    Falls Church, VA