Peoria Public School Board delays vote on renaming Thomas Jefferson Elementary & calendar change

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The name of one Peoria Public School will remain unchanged — at least for the moment — after two roadblocks delayed the renaming process.

During Monday evening’s Peoria Public School Board meeting, the board voted to table the proposal to strip Thomas Jefferson Elementary of its name and rename it Reverend Dr. Cordy Tindell Vivian Elementary School.

Doug Shaw, the school board president, said two technicalities side tracked the motion.

“Due to the policy on renaming buildings, that recommendation needs to first come out of the policy committee,” Shaw said. “As far as the action item itself, only the board president can add an item without two board members’ signatures and tonight’s action came from another board member with only one signature.”

He said due to these technical issues, the board voted to table the motion until they can clean up the process. He said the original purpose for the name change was to rename schools that were named after “offensive and racist individuals.”

Shaw said the policy committee will meet later in the week and he hopes they’ll provide a recommendation to rename Thomas Jefferson Elementary after C.T. Vivian so it can be added as an action item for the next meeting.

He said the name C.T. Vivian came to the board when they opened up the naming process to the public for suggestions.

The other five schools expected to be renamed are Harrison Community Learning Center, Washington Gifted Middle School, Roosevelt Magnet School, Lindbergh Middle School, and Calvin Coolidge Middle School. 

Also during Monday’s meeting, board members announced the decision to delay voting on a calendar change for the district.

After an update from the balanced calendar committee on the work that’s been done so far in regards to research for both a potential balanced or modified calendar, parents and students in the district both spoke in favor and against the idea.

Ultimately board members decided there’s no rush in making a decision for a plan that wouldn’t go into effect until the 2021-2022 school year.

“We want to just slow the process down to try to get this right and to try to get as much information out, especially about the modified calendar which is an option that many people don’t know about,” Shaw said. “So I think we’re going to push information out on that and give people the chance for feedback on that.”

There’s currently no date set for a vote on the matter.

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