School Board Meeting Recap - July 13, 2015
Monday's school board meeting included additional discussions on the RPS leveling process, a recognition of a retired RPS teacher, and a budgetary presentation from the city's charter school. The most visibly influential decision, however, dealt with naming the city's newest middle school. After ongoing hesitation, the school board temporarily settled on a name.
Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School
Earlier this year the school board decided to transfer the Elkhardt student body to Thompson middle school, and agreed to change a name of the new combined school. The current Thompson building will be over capacity by 2018, necessitating the development of a new building at the old Elkhardt site. Given that the new school would switch buildings in the foreseeable future, the first question the board addressed was whether the new name would be temporary or permanent. The board determined that they would be legally permitted either change or keep the name of the school in the future.
At this point, Mr. Jones expressed regret over the process’ timing, in their decision would have to be made before sufficient public input was received. In particular, he expressed apprehensiveness over naming a school only to rename it three years later, particularly if the change removed a person’s name.
Superintendent Bedden then confirmed the school did not have to be named that evening, as the administration could present the new school as “New Middle School" in their documentation. However, the board was soon informed by Thomas Kranz, assistant superintendent for supportive services, that he could not guaranteed the school name would be up for display before the start of the school year if the board did not reach a consensus on a name.
Given the renewed time restraints, the Board proposed a hybrid name, like Elkson Middle, Stratford Hills Middle, and Elkhardt-Thompson, before settling on the the last. The motion to name the school Elkhardt-Thompson passed 8-0. Representative Bourne was absent.
The board spent some time discussing the legality of adding a motion concerning the leveling process to the agenda. Eventually a motion to add discussions about the leveling process passed with a vote of 5-3. A representative for Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts presented the school's quarterly financial report, ensuring the school remains in good standing.