Virginia High School's Name Change Expected to Cost $750,000

Plan halted after costs became known to public

J.E.B. Stuart / Wikimedia Commons
J.E.B. Stuart / Wikimedia Commons
October 13, 2016

A Virginia high school named after a Confederate general had planned to change its name but those plans were halted after it became known that the school system planned to pay $100,000 to a facilitator to lead a committee looking into the name change.

Fairfax County's J.E.B. Stuart High School is named after Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart, who was first an officer in the U.S. Army but went on to serve under Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War after his home state of Virginia seceded.

The school was going to succumb to pressure and change its name, but those plans were put on hold when the cost of the name change became publicly known, according to a report by WUSA9.

Among the details released was that the Fairfax County school district planned to spend up to $100,000 on a facilitator to lead a committee looking into the name change. The total cost for the name change is estimated to cost $750,000.

A member of the school board who opposes name change said that the school's budget is tight and that spending any money for a name change is inappropriate.

"We're already in a strained position," Elizabeth Schultz said. "This is where we have, I think, an extra fiduciary responsibility as school board members to be cautious with the money that we spend."

Denise Patton, a former teacher at the school, agreed, arguing that the community doesn't even want the name changed.

"What's wrong is that the community has spoken, the community is against a name change for many reasons," Patton said. "One is money. J.E.B. Stuart needs money for the kids, not for a name change, and the community has said that. Also, the distortion of history."

Following the USA9 report, the school district alerted parents that the decision to hire a facilitator for the name change had been put on hold.