RSU readies for input on name change

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Regional School Unit 5 residents will weight in on the possibility of changing the name of Freeport High School during a question-and-answer session at the school, from 6-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Regional School Unit 5 directors have invited the public to a question-and-answer session on the concept of changing the name of Freeport High School, from 6-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, prior to the board meeting in the school library.

The school board discussed the possibility of changing the school’s name this past summer, as one facet of the RSU 5 “Unity & Pride Project.” The district has remained intact following failed withdrawal attempts in Freeport and Durham, and school officials have spoken often of the need to foster a sense of unity.

Candace deCsipkes of Durham, a member of the Strategic Communications Subcommittee, explained at a board meeting on Aug. 24 that the Unity & Pride Project has four elements: definition of areas of strength, the identification of future areas for growth to create uniqueness in the district, gathering input from stakeholders and the name change. Superintendent Becky Foley suggested that the subcommittee should work on a draft survey. That survey is ready.

The survey is available at town offices in Durham, Freeport and Pownal, on the RSU 5 website and by email for residents who have made their email addresses available, according to Michelle Ritcheson of Durham, board chairwoman.

“We’ve received emails both positive and negative on this,” Ritcheson said. “We’ll take more questions and comments during the Q&A session.”

The questionnaire explains that, during the ongoing renovation of Freeport High School, the school board seeks input. Should the name be changed, the questionnaire says, it would cost up to $68,000 for new painting, uniform replacement and new signage.

The two operative questions are whether renaming the high schould would imrove unity and pride, and if the name should be changed at all.

There are five boxes to check on each question, ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

During the Aug. 24 meeting, board members were somewhat divided on a proposed name change for Freeport High School. Valy Steverlynck of Freeport suggested separating the renaming issue from the rest of the Unity & Pride Project in order to avoid “tainting the entire initiative.”

Regional School Unit 5 residents will weight in on the possibility of changing the name of Freeport High School during a question-and-answer session at the school, from 6-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9.