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Abilene ISD board postpones school renaming decision until at least January



Three Abilene ISD schools — currently named after Confederate leaders — will have to wait until January 2021 before being renamed.

The discussion to rename Jackson, Johnston, Lee and Regan Elementary schools began in June with a petition.

In September, Abilene ISD’s Board of Trustees voted to move forward with the renaming process.

At their December 7 board meeting, they had their first chance to pick names for Johnston, Jackson and Lee Elementary schools.

The first few minutes of the discussion were filled with awkward silence.

“This process is painful, noted board president Daryl Zeller.

Last week, the school board was presented with 11 possible school names, which were submitted by the public, then narrowed down and recommended by a renaming committee.

“It would be hard to go from a list of 11 to three,” said board member Cindy Earles. “I think an intermediate step would be good.”

After discussing, the school board pushed the time to make their picks until at least January.

“It’s too important of a decision to make quickly,” said board member Derek Hood.

That’s when each board member will bring a ranked list of their top five names, which can come from the committee’s recommended list or a name they choose themselves.

“I’d like to recommend Maria Velasquez,” suggested board member Bill Enriquez.

The decision made by the board could last for decades.

“I just want us to name these three schools on the merit that they, the life that they’ve lived,” said Zeller.