|FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand (left) talks to the public at a "community conversation" at Luther Jackson Middle School.|
That is far less than the $800,000 figure in earlier FCPS estimates – and way below the $1 million cost claimed by those who fought to keep the Stuart name.
The school board voted in October to adopt the name Justice High School. In an earlier school board action to proceed with a name change, a majority of board members said it was no longer appropriate to name a school for a Confederate general and slave owner. The new name will tale effect before the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.
The revised cost estimates call for painting a new logo on the turf field, at a cost of $10,500, rather than spending $104,000 to replace the whole field.
The revised budget for the name change includes more accurate costs. For example, it calls for $40,000 for marching band uniforms, compared to an earlier estimate of $150,000. Certain items are not included, such as a logo on the floor of the main hallway, which had been estimated at $45,000, and a new trophy case, which would have cost $50,000. Additional money would be saved by not replacing the entire uniform for some sports.
The school board expects some of the funding will come from contributions by individuals and organizations. A donation button on the FCPS website has so far netted $15,450. Now that there’s a clear idea of the costs – and people can contribute money for specific items – the fundraising effort is expected to be accelerated
If Stuart students decide to retain the Raiders mascot, the cost of renaming the school would be reduced even more, to $403,424.
Raiders is one of five mascot options selected by Stuart students and Glasgow High School eighth-graders heading to the renamed Justice High School next year. The other possibilities for a Justice mascot are the Lions, Wolves, Jayhawks, and Falcons.
Some of the mascot names that didn’t make the cut, says Stuart Principal Penny Gros, were the Frogs, Doves, Unicorns, Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and the “Justice Beavers,” from an episode of “The Office” where Dwight Schrute misheard a reference to Justin Bieber as Justice Beaver. The mascot can’t be the same as one used by another Fairfax County school, and the Beavers are the mascot for Beech Tree Elementary School.
Students will vote again to narrow down the five mascot choices to the top two, Gros said. Shortly after the winter break students will vote again to select their final choice. After selecting a mascot, they will vote among several choices for an image or logo. The school colors will remain red and blue.
Gros said the mascot decision needs to happen early in the new year because uniforms have to be ordered by late January to have them in time for the next school year.
Brabrand, who has been superintendent since July 10, spoke about his goals for FCPS at his latest “community conversation” event, Dec. 11 at Luther Jackson Middle School.
He plans to focus on “the three Es”: excellence, equity, and effectiveness. Regarding excellence, he said: “There are things that Fairfax County does that are better than anywhere else. But FCPS is not perfect. The same level of excellence needs to be in every school and in every classroom.”
Brabrand embraces the “portrait of the graduate” initiative begun by his predecessor, which calls for students to have 21st century skills like critical thinking and problem solving. “We’re going beyond the SOLs (Standards of Learning exams),” he said, although “tests are still an important measuring stick; they’re not going away.”
Regarding equity, he said every child and every school needs the opportunity to have the same access and the same outcomes. On the third E, effectiveness, Brabrand called for making the best use of time and limited financial resources. Teachers are overwhelmed; they have too much on their plate, so he plans to work with the board to set priorities.
The budget, which he will present to the board in January, will target resources on people – and on ensuring teachers get market-based compensation. Every teacher should be able to afford to live in Fairfax County, he said.
Another important element for Brabrand is joy. “We want kids to feel happy and excited,” he said. Too many students are stressed out and wrapped up in “the cult of competitive suffering.” Some students, for example, brag about how late they stay up to finish their homework.
Brabrand called for school personnel to “create space for personal connections,” to never exhibit less-than-professional conduct, and to be role models for civic behavior.