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Austin School Board Considers Renaming Schools That Honor Confederate Figures

Miguel Gutierrez Jr.
John H. Reagan High School is one of the district's schools that could get a name change.

Five Austin schools named after people involved with the Confederacy could get new names.

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees will discuss changing the names tonight, although there won't be a vote taken at the meeting. 

The five facilities under consideration are:

  • The Allan Center(currently not used as a school), which was named after John T. Allan, an officer in the Confederate Army.  
  • Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School, which was named after a private in the Confederate Army and county judge for Travis County.
  • Sidney Lanier High School, which was named after a poet who served in the Confederate Army.
  • John H. Reagan High School, which was named after the Confederate postmaster general. 
  • Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus (formerly called Johnston High School), which was named after Albert Sidney Johnson, a Confederate general. 

The board voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary Schoollast year after a request from the school's Campus Advisory Council. The current proposal comes from the superintendent's office. The administration met with principals and other leaders at these schools to gather input about the names. 

If the board votes to move forward, the public will be able to suggest new names. There are criteria around choosing a new name, including a connection to the school or community. The individual must also adhere to the district's values. 

When the board was debating changing the name of Lee Elementary, some members called for more schools to be named for people of color from the community, since a majority of AISD students are minorities. 

The cost associated with changing the name of an elementary school is $13,800, which includes changing various signage. The cost for a middle or high school is $77,000, plus the cost of uniforms for band and other organizations.

Claire McInerny is a former education reporter for KUT.
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