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Sutherland up next for school name review

After the Albemarle County School Board approved Mountain View Elementary as the new name for Paul H. Cale Elementary, the school division announced that Sutherland Middle School will be reviewed next.

Using a revised policy, students and the school community will have an opportunity to weigh in on what the school’s name should be. Keeping the Sutherland name will be an option.

The school, which opened in 1994, is named for Mortimer Y. Sutherland, a former member of Albemarle’s School Board and Board of Supervisors.

Schools Superintendent Matt Haas said before Thursday’s School Board meeting that Sutherland was picked because his name came up during the naming committee’s research into Cale. The board charged Haas with reviewing each school named after an individual, of which there are 14, including Cale.

In July 1963, Sutherland was the lone county supervisor to vote against firing School Board members who refused an order from supervisors to repeal a policy to eliminate athletics and social functions in county schools, according to Daily Progress archives. The policy was aimed at preventing students of different races from interacting socially and was passed as some form of integration became inevitable. At the time, School Board members were appointed.

Haas said the division will have a page on its website to provide information about the review process. He said he plans to meet with Sutherland staff and parents next week to discuss next steps.

An advisory committee will lead the review and recommend a name for the school. Haas said in September that this new process would reduce the time involved and refocus the review on what is the best name for a school in light of the School Board’s current values and policies.

“We have made significant changes to Policy FA — Building and Naming School Facilities that should help expedite this process and avoid making the current namesake the focus of the process,” Haas said during Thursday’s meeting.

He’s expecting the advisory committee to hold its first meeting in February.

Information about serving on the committee has not yet been publicized but the division is expected to announce more details Friday.

The name change at Cale to Mountain View will go into effect July 1. A plaque at the school will recognize Paul Cale as the school’s first namesake. The cost to change the signs at the school is expected to be $5,000.


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