Wednesday, April 29, 2009
9:38 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Colton school board members are wise to reconsider a school-naming decision that brought fierce opposition from Grand Terrace residents. The board should defer to community consensus and name the school after the city.
The board of the Colton Joint Unified School District voted in March to name the school, slated to open in 2011, for Colton resident and former board member Ray Abril. The choice has roiled the district ever since, and trustees tonight will consider amending the name to "Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril, Jr., Educational Complex."
The proposal is a reasonable compromise. It would give the school's sports teams and diplomas a community identity. And the name would still honor Abril, who served the district for decades. Grand Terrace Mayor Maryetta Ferre said Tuesday that she supports the change, which would put "Grand Terrace High School" on the school's marquee. Ferre and the City Council have objected to naming the school anything but Grand Terrace.
And renaming the school tonight would end a battle that even Abril, according to Trustee Patt Haro, has said is dividing the community. Such division serves neither the public interest nor the board's reputation, and trustees would do well to remember the unity that city officials and residents provided in making the high school happen. The city's voters approved two bond measures, helping provide funding for the school. And the city gave up sports fields and moved businesses to make land available.
And a name change would show respect for city residents as well. The board asked in February for public input, only to apparently ignore it. And about 200 people in the city of 12,500 showed up last week to protest naming the school after a former trustee little-known in Grand Terrace. The board should heed that community input, not resist it.
The new high school should be a source of community pride and cohesion, not resentment and discord. Name the school Grand Terrace and move on to the business of ensuring a strong education for the students who pass through its doors.
Posted by Letti at 7:27 AM