Building naming policy presented to Fort Smith Board of Education

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 697 views 

Members of the Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education were presented with a policy proposal that regulates naming school facilities, with one board member uneasy about the policy timing.

In December, the board adopted financial policies with language used in the model policies provided by Arkansas School Board Association (ASBA). At that time, there were certain areas of the model policies FSPS administration wanted to review to see if they were appropriate and necessary. Included in those were sections on grants and special funding; information technology security; naming school facilities; private sponsorship of extracurricular activities; and healthcare coverage and affordable care act.

Administration decided it was time to adopt a new policy on naming school facilities, said Charles Warren, FSPS chief financial officer, and presented the proposed policy at the board’s work session Monday (Feb. 18) night.

If approved, the motion on naming school facilities would read: “Except as otherwise permitted in this policy or Arkansas law, the District shall not name any building, structure, or facility, paid for in whole or in part with District funds, for an individual living at the time of its completion who, in the ten (10) years preceding its construction, was elected, or held, a federal, state, county, or municipal office and received a salary for his/her service,” the policy states.

The policy provides exceptions may be made “when a building, structure, or facility is constructed through the use of at least 50% private funds or, the name refers to: 1. an individual(s) living at the time of its completion and who has historical significance; 2. an individual who is or has been a prisoner of war; or 3. a living individual who is at least 75 years of age and is retired.”

Dr. Doug Brubaker, FSPS superintendent, said the exceptions were in accordance with state law.

Board member Wade Gilkey said the policy was premature.

“I prefer not to address this until we have something to show for our efforts,” Gilkey said.

Fort Smith voters approved a 5.558 millage increase for Fort Smith public schools in 2018. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, $35 million of which will go toward district-wide safety improvements. Other noteworthy items to be funded with the millage is a new $13.724 million Career and Technology Center featuring specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing and additions and improvements to both Northside and Southside high schools which will include new freshman academies and new gyms at both.

The board will address the new policy at the regular school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the School Service Center.