Citizens will get more time to offer suggestions for three new middle schools in Spokane.
During a special meeting Wednesday night, the Spokane Public Schools board pushed back by several months the deadline for naming the three new schools and the On Track Academy.
The board also clarified procedures on what will be a much touchier subject: the renaming of existing schools and mascots.
The original schedule for naming new schools, set up last winter, called for all four schools to be named by now.
That was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures. The new schedule calls for naming the new On Track Academy by February and the new middle schools by June.
Mascots are scheduled to be identified in December 2021 for the middle schools to be located in northwest and northeast Spokane, and a year later for the new building on the South Hill.
In the meantime, that gives the public more time to add to the 237 unique names already submitted.
A few of those suggestions were described as “silly” by associate superintendent Mark Anderson, but the vast majority meet the requirement for consideration.
Anderson didn’t offer any names that had been suggested, though he said that the new northwest middle school, to be built near Albi Stadium, has received several naming ideas tied to the Spokane River.
Schools may be named for their location or for a significant individual or event.
The board also gave tentative approval to language clarifying how existing schools and mascots could be renamed.
Anderson said he hoped the process would be as transparent as possible, including feedback “both from those who would want the school renamed and maybe those who would prefer it stays with the same name.”
Steps would include submission of a request to the superintendent’s office, presentation to the school board and a public hearing before the board would decide on a name change.
The process would include feedback from alumni and parents of current students. The public can also submit requests to the superintendent about any issues they have with a school name.
Board members will then discuss proper protocol if there’s a valid reason for the change.
It’s unclear how much it would cost to rename a school, Anderson said.
A similar process is under way in the city, board member Jenny Slagle noted.
On Wednesday, the City Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposal to change the name of Fort George Wright Drive.
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