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Board to decide Robert E. Lee Elementary’s new name

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Robert E. Lee Elementary School

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education will consider Tuesday whether to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School.

Calls for the name change rose last year amid a nationwide movement to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places. However, surveys of the school community in Paradise Hills and of the public at large showed widespread support for keeping the name as-is, or at least maintaining “Lee” in the title.

The school was named for the Civil War general when it opened in 1959 in honor of his contributions as an American soldier, according to the district. Lee was a longtime U.S. Army officer, but as a resident of Virginia sided with the South in the Civil War.

According to the district, no consensus was reached about the name at a pair of community meetings last year. The surveys showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents didn’t want to change the school name and just over half wanted to keep “Lee” as part of a new name if a switch were made.

District officials turned the issue over to its Schools Name Committee, which unanimously recommended a name change.

Students and teachers at the school narrowed potential new names to Pacific View Leadership Elementary and Amelia Earhart Elementary, and Pacific View received the most votes in an election in which students, staff, parents and family members cast ballots, according to the district.

The naming committee concurred with the selection and forwarded the recommendation to the school board for ratification.

The school’s student body is now three-quarters Hispanic and only 2.5 percent white, according to the district.

The trustees will also decide whether to change the name of the Kearny High School of International Business to Kearny High School of College Connections. The School of International Business opened a dozen years ago, but its core mission has evolved over that time since an early enrollment partnership with Mesa College was expanded, according to a district report.

The board will also consider whether to move ahead with a plan to renovate athletic and other facilities at Point Loma High School.

The plan includes installing lighting, a press box and a grandstand at the campus stadium; replacing the aging library building with a three-story structure that would include a library, media center and 20 classrooms; building a new cafeteria and renovating administrative offices.

Students rallied in support of the plan last week.