July 31, 2008

BISD to Discuss School Names

By Gary Long, The Brownsville Herald, Texas

Jul. 31--The Brownsville Independent School District will hold a special meeting today to discuss names for the five new schools the district is building.

The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at BISD headquarters at 1900 Price Rd. Presentations will be limited to five minutes per person and not more than 15 minutes per name nomination. Handouts and photos may be submitted.

Mittie Pullam's name is among those submitted. She was an African-American educator who served as principal of Frederick Douglass Elementary, a segregated school that operated in Brownsville in the 1950s. Pullam later served as principal of Skinner Elementary. She retired in 1975.

A name honoring veterans of U.S. military service also has been submitted.

The meeting agenda includes items for "discussion, consideration and possible action of the naming of" each of the five schools.

The five schools include a $59.2 million sixth high school on an 80-acre site across from River Bend Resort on Military Highway. Construction started in May.

In addition, the district will build a new middle school and a new elementary on a 43.3-acre site off Alton Gloor Boulevard near Ortiz Elementary. Two other elementaries are planned, one in the Heritage Trail Subdivision off Alton Gloor, the other on Salida de Luna Road near Garcia Middle School. All are under construction or nearing construction.

With one exception, all of the new schools are funded by a $135 million bond issue that voters approved in 2006. Funds for the elementary on Salida de Luna come from BISD fund balances.

BISD has issued these guidelines for naming the new schools:

ä No facility can be named for any person or persons employed by the district at the time of the naming. Exceptions may be made in the case of a donated school site.

ä Facilities may be named after persons who have served BISD or the community.

ä School facilities may be named after any local, state or national heroic figure.

ä The nominee must have made a significant contribution to society and/or education and his or her name should lend prestige and status to an institution of learning.

ä School facilities may be named after any local, state or national geographic area.

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