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AISD Board Votes To Rename Allan Center, Passes On 4 Other Confederate-Named Schools

Martin do Nascimento for KUT
The Allan Center in 2017.

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday night to rename the Allan Center, named for Confederate Army officer John T. Allan, after Anita Coy, a former Austin ISD principal and administrator.

Trustees didn’t vote on renaming Lanier, Reagan or Eastside Memorial high schools or Fulmore Middle School, which were also named for Confederate figures, but could considering renaming them at a later date.

Board Member Ann Teich, who represents the Lanier community, did not put forward a motion for Lanier and has been opposed to the renaming from the beginning. She said many other schools like Austin and Bowie High Schools, both named for slave owners or traders, should also be on the list. Cost is also a huge concern for her, because she says this money could go toward academic or structural improvements at these schools.  

“A continued concern to me is the cost entailed in renaming a school, particularly schools that are well over 100 years old or even 50 years old in the face of financial pressures faced by AISD,” she told the board.

Newly elected Board Member LaTisha Anderson, who is replacing Ted Gordon as the representative for East Austin, said she’d like the Reagan High School community to get more time coming up with new names.

No board members discussed Fulmore at the meeting. The district asked the board to wait on a vote for Eastside Memorial High School until after it moves buildings as part of its bond-backed plan to renovate schools.

The board voted in February to change the names of five facilities in Austin named after men who served the Confederacy: the Allan Center (former Allan Elementary), Fulmore Middle School, Lanier and Reagan High Schools, and Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus.

Coy served as both principal of Allan Elementary and superintendent of the school district in her 30-year career as an educator.

After the vote in February, the district asked the public to submit potential names for these buildings. Then, AISD created a task force of community members to write the criteria that a potential name had to meet. Members of the community submitted both John H. Reagan and Sidney Lanier's names absent the Confederate figures' first names. The task force said this went against the criteria and the whole purpose of the renaming.

The board did not say when it will vote on the other four schools. 

Claire McInerny is a former education reporter for KUT.
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