Durham gets its chance to air name-change questions

The Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors meets at Durham Community School on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Durham residents will get their turn to weigh in on the idea of changing Freeport High School’s name when Regional School Unit 5 directors meet at Durham Community School, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

As it did at Freeport High School on Nov. 2, the school board will hold an informal question-and-answer period prior to the regular business meeting at 6:30. Later on at the meeting, the Unity & Pride Project subcommittee, which is floating the name change as a part of its charge, will discuss the matter.

RSU 5 has made surveys available to residents of Durham, Freeport and Pownal via email, on the RSU 5 website and on paper printouts at the three town offices. Parents, community members, students and RSU 5 staff have until Friday, Nov. 25, to respond to the survey, which the subcommittee will study going forward. Comments from the question-and-answer sessions also will be taken into consideration.

The questionnaire states that it would cost up to $68,000 for new painting, uniform replacement and new signage. There are five boxes to check on each question, ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

The school board believes this is the time to consider a high school name change, during a $14.6 million renovation of the school that will be completed next summer. A new school sign will be up by next September, and the school board wants to make sure a decision on the school’s name is ahead of that process.

The stated purpose of the Unity and Pride Project is to “create pride, unity, engagement, excitement and a sense of belonging in our school district.” The board also seeks to celebrate RSU 5’s achievements, to distinguish itself from other area school districts and invest in future programming.

Also on the Nov. 30 school board agenda, Dennis Ouellette, director of facilities and transportation, will delve into a long-range capital improvement plan for RSU 5.

The Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors meets at Durham Community School on Wednesday, Nov. 30.