Naming policy approved by the Fort Smith School Board

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,030 views 

The Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education approved a new policy that would mostly prohibit naming district buildings, facilities or structures for anyone living at the time of its completion.

The policy specified that facilities built with district funds could not be named for someone who “in the 10 years preceding its construction, was elected or held a federal, state, county or municipal office and received a salary for his/her service.”

Exceptions were cited if a facility was constructed through the use of at least 50% private funds or the name refers to: An individual(s) living at the time of its completion and who has historical significance; An individual who is or has been a prisoner of war; or, A living individual who is at least 75 years of age and is retired.

The policy change passed with six in favor and one opposed. Board member Talicia Richardson, who voted against the policy change, said she had concerns about the second two exceptions to the rule.

“When we acknowledge a person, I think based on our current situation in the United States, that sometimes that is not the best way to operate. And for me this was difficult for me to present this to the board, but I’m just one person,” Richardson said.

Richardson and board members Dalton Person and Matt Blaylock were the committee that drafted the proposed policy change. The policy states that if a facility is to be named or renamed, it should: Recognize the facility’s location, geography, natural land feature or history; Commemorate places, people or events that are of continued importance to the town, region, state or nation; or, Honor a significant financial donor of funds used to renovate or construct the facility.

Also any facility named in the future must portray a strong positive image that can stand the test of time, according to the policy.

Before a building is named or renamed, administration will solicit nominations from the public via appropriate means and facility names meeting the requirement will be published by the district for no less than 30 days to give the public ample opportunity to let their opinion on the name be known, said Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski.