S.F. school board may reverse its vote to rename 44 schools

Jill Tucker:

Just over two months after voting to rename 44 schools, the San Francisco school board is poised to reverse that decision Tuesday to avoid costly litigation.

The upcoming vote represents the latest development in a months-long initiative that culminated amid the pandemic. In late January, the board voted 6-1 to change dozens of school names associated with slavery, oppression, genocide and colonization as public schools districtwide remained closed.

The process began in 2018 with a resolution to create a committee to advise the board. The committee ultimately recommended changing 44 school names, including Lincoln, Washington, Mission and Balboa high schools, as well as Alamo, Jefferson and Serra elementary schools.

Many communities supported the effort, with parents saying it was hurtful to have their children wearing school sweatshirts with the name of James Denman, a former district superintendent who denied education to Chinese students, for example.

Others considered the effort too far-reaching and expensive, with no cost estimate on what it would take to rebrand more than three dozen school sites. Examples across the country put the price tag at somewhere between $20,000 and several million dollars per school, depending on the school’s size, signage and other items related to the previous name, like band uniforms.