Public to offer input on changing schools named after Confederate generals

(File images)

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg is holding a public hearing Wednesday night to discuss changing the names of three schools in the district which are currently named for Confederate generals.

It’s set to begin at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Petersburg High.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 17, but it was ultimately postponed due to Petersburg schools being closed that day due to inclement weather.

The schools which are considering name changes are A.P. Hill Elementary, Robert E. Lee Elementary and J.E.B. Stuart Elementary.

All three schools were named in the early 1900s.

The school system also made a survey available online to get public input, which will remain available through Jan. 24.

Ultimately, the Petersburg School Board says that while they value the public input, it is their responsibility to choose the names of schools.

The cost of changing the names was estimated to be about $18,000, which included changing lettering on the buildings, updating outdoor signs, replacing the top section of stage curtains, replacing doormats and removing the name from Lee’s gym floor. After hearing of this need, a private citizen donated $20,000 on Jan. 11 to cover the cost if the schools are renamed.

A vote on whether or not to change the names of the schools will be held at the Feb. 7 School Board meeting.

Any changes in school names would not take effect until July 1, 2018.

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