Special Board Meeting Hears All Voices on Naming Elementary School, Compromise Made

Some public objections in regards to the recent naming of a soon to be built new elementary school prompted the the Greater Jasper Consolidated School Board to schedule a special meeting and in the end a compromise was made.

Towards the end of the meeting that took place last night in the community room of Jasper High School before roughly 70 people, the Greater Jasper board decided to re-name the school “Jasper Elementary School” with the school’s library to be named “The Wilson Media Center”.

Last week, board members initially decided to name the school Wilson Elementary after education pioneers George and Margaret Wilson following a presentation from local historians Junie Himsel and Joe Rohleder. The meeting kicked off with statements from Greater Jasper Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey followed by each board member.

Member Tim Demotte began by saying he was open to reconsideration of what had been previously decided.

Ken Schnaus shared in his statement to the room that he stood by the initial decision but also would stand by his constituent’s requests.

Greg Eckerle said after hearing public comments over the last week, declared that he too was willing to make a compromise and was in favor of using the Wilson name in regards to the school’s media center.

Arlet Jackle expressed her frustration with the negative feedback received this passed week due to the naming of the school and that some of the comments she received had become personal.

However, she too was sure the board and the public could reach a concession. She said regardless pf the name she will support the new school. Board president Bernie Vogler admitted that the topic should have been tabled due to a what some might have thought was a quick decision…..

After hearing from the board the floor was open to public comment. Local attorney Greg Schnarr in a read statement recognized that the board performed their due diligence however, he did voice some concern that the general public was not heard….

After all was said and done, Dr. Lorey made the recommendation to name the future elementary school “Jasper Elementary” with special recognition going to the Wilson siblings in the form of naming the school’s library after the influential pair. The board’s vote was unanimously in favor of the compromised name.

Lorey says despite the the negative light shed on the situation, the end result was a win win….

School officials hope the new elementary school, to be located on Jasper’s north-side consolidating the aging Tenth Street and Fifth Street Elementary Schools will be completed and ready for students by the 2019-20 school year.

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