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Chippewa Valley Debates Naming School Facilities After Employees

Unable to arrive at a decision Monday, the school board will revisit the issue of naming its facilities after employees and community members at a later meeting date.

What’s in a name? Apparently a fair bit of disagreement among Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education members when the name relates to the district’s policy on naming facilities after community members.

A request to create a district policy to allow the naming of school facilities to commemorate the work of outstanding employees or community members divided the board Monday night and a decision on the issue was eventually tabled for a later date.

At present, the district does not have a policy for naming facilities after individuals, which Trustee Andrew Patzert believes should remain the case.

“I’m going to vote no on this,” Patzert said. “You have a person who may be a meaningful person, but then somebody comes along who may not be so meaningful, but someone would put forth that person’s name, and who's saying yes, who's saying no, whose feelings are hurt, whose feelings aren’t hurt … I think we should stick firm to the concept. We should not name a facility or part of a facility after an employee.”

Arguing in support of the policy, Trustee Euel Kinsey said allowing the policy is a question of giving the board flexibility.

“Changing the policy to give us the opportunity is different than doing it,” Kinsey said. “I don’t see any harm in changing the policy to allow the board, or future board, to exercise its discretion.”

However, for board Vice President Denise Aquino, it was a question of process more than policy. 

“I would have to know what the process is, what is the final determination (for naming a facility)?” she said. “I’m not prepared to vote until there is criteria established."

While some Chippewa Valley facilities have been named in honor of district employees in the past, any such recognition in the future will likely rely on the outcome of the board’s decision on this policy. 

The policy has been sent back to the board’s operations committee to establish criteria for the naming process. Once this is done, it will return to the board for a vote.

Naming School Buildings 

In the same line of discussion Monday, the board did approve the revision of the district’s policy on naming district buildings.

While the earlier policy stated the district would name school buildings for only Native American tribes, recent exceptions have led the board to change the policy to allow the names of individuals as well.

“We weren’t following our policy to the letter in naming our buildings,” said board President George Sobah. “Not all (our buildings were) named after tribes. We named after some leaders as well, and we wanted to change our policy to more accurately reflect this.”

These exceptions are Little Turtle and Sequoyah Elementary, named for Native American leaders.  

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