Robert E. Lee among six schools recommended for renaming by voters, DCPS says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After weeks of debate on whether to rename nine Duval County Schools, community balloting results are in.

Community members voted in favor of changing the names of six schools named after confederate figures.

Voters supported three schools keeping their current names, including Jean Ribault Middle and High Schools, and Andrew Jackson High School.

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Schools recommended for renaming by voters:

  • Joseph Finegan Elementary School
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary School
  • Jefferson Davis Middle School
  • Kirby-Smith Middle School
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle School
  • Robert E. Lee High School

While voters were in favor of Kirby-Smith changing its name, its current name received the most individual votes of the options presented on the ballot.

Voters selected ‘Westside Middle School’ as preferred renaming options for both Jefferson Davis Middle School and J.E.B. Stuart Middle Schools.

Names chosen by voters for schools recommended for renaming:

  • Joseph Finegan Elementary School to Anchor Academy
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary School to Westside Academy
  • Jefferson Davis Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • Robert E. Lee High School to Riverside High School
  • Kirby-Smith Middle School to Kirby-Smith Middle School

The results aren’t the final decisions, but community input for DCPS superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene.

Her recommendations to the school board will be made public May 25.

Board members will make the final vote on June 1.

DCPS says renaming secondary schools would cost about $287,000 per school, and about $32,000 for elementary schools.

The Northside Coalition was among several local activist groups calling for the schools to be renamed and led a weeks long multimedia marketing during the balloting process.

“This is a major step forward in the history of this city. I think it’s a seismic move for racial progress in Jacksonville,” said Northside Coalition and Founder, Ben Frazier. “These schools represented the civil war. They represent slavery, strife, division, white supremacy.”

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The ‘Save the Names’ organization also campaigned for weeks to preserve the schools’ names.

Save the Names member, and Lee alumnus, Pat Geer, says he and others will be closely monitoring how the superintendent and school board weight the results.

“I want to see how the particular groups voted. I want to see how the alumni voted, versus how the community members voted,” said Geer. “… I don’t want the name changed, I want to keep the name, and I want Robert E. Lee High School.”