WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Johnston said at Tuesday’s School Board meeting that funding for the renaming of Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School would be taken in part from this year’s budget and not the fiscal year 2022 budget.
Bids to replace the signage at Stonewall Jackson and Ashby Lee Elementary School will be opened at 1 p.m. today.
School Board member Marty Helsley asked about where the money for the renaming was going to come from at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Obviously, the renaming at the southern campus is proceeding,” Helsley said. “Contracts are going to be open Friday.”
Johnston replied that the opening of a bid is not obligatory. He said the next steps are to figure out how much money it will cost for the renaming.
“(The opening of the bids) will be the first opportunity we have to get estimates of the signage costs,” Johnston said. “Next we’ll be looking at all the potential coats of the renaming and going through and trying to identify any areas where we have possible savings currently. And then what I would do is come to the School Board with an amendment and ask them to approve a reallocation of funds from where there might be savings.”
Johnston said to keep in mind that they are also getting donations for the renaming of the schools.
School Board member Michelle Manning has established Shenandoah Forward, a nonprofit organization set up primarily for raising private funds to offset the costs of the name changes.
Manning said she is also working with Stonewall Jackson High School Principal Mike Dorman to figure out what will need replacing at the school. Originally, it was estimated that it might take $500,000, but Manning said as they’ve started to work through everything it will not be that much.
“At my weekly meeting with Mike Dorman we continue to work on getting numbers for the expenses,” Manning said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We met with our rep (Tuesday) who handles uniforms and some of our athletic equipment, and I’m happy to report that our expenditure is not going to be half a million dollars. I don’t have a final number at this point, but it will be significantly less than that just based on what we’re looking at.”
Manning said they are making sure that they replace anything that needs to be replaced.
“He and I literally meet weekly and talk about this,” Manning said. “And work through and make sure we have not sacrificed clothing or anything or have not replaced things. We have gone uniform to uniform and made sure we replaced where necessary. And so we’re making good progress there, and I’m happy to report that.”
The renaming was part of a resolution condemning racism and affirming the division’s commitment to an inclusive school environment for all.
On July 9, the School Board approved changing the name of Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School and changing the mascot name “Rebels” at North Fork Middle School.
Committees at each school were formed and at the Dec. 10 School Board meeting, each committee submitted a name for recommendation. Last month, the board approved renaming Stonewall Jackson High School to Mountain View High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School to Honey Run Elementary School. It was decided last month to conduct a survey to help decide the mascot name at Mountain View and North Fork Middle School. The mascot choices were between Generals, which is Stonewall Jackson’s current mascot, and Rattlers.
The survey, which ran on the school division’s website, had 3,382 responses and 87.7% selected Generals. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to keep Generals as the mascot at Stonewall Jackson and as the new mascot for North Fork.
Johnston said keeping the Generals mascot probably helped save some money as well.