Archived Story

A community choice

Published 10:17am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

While we’ve known for some time what the new fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school in Austin will be called, it is comforting to know the Austin Public Schools board officially named the I.J. Holton Intermediate Schools at its Monday night meeting.

The school board is to be commended for its openness and willingness to involve the community in the decision, the culmination of more than half a year’s work. After a community suggestion period, the board appointed a subcommittee of Austin residents, teachers and parents to narrow down the list from more than 80 submissions to the top five. Of those five, the board eventually chose to name the building after I.J. Holton, the former Hormel Foods Corp. President and CEO who passed away earlier this year. This decision came despite a possible suggestion to divert from the community’s choices by picking a sixth school name, which the board was right to not follow.

The board, true to its word, let three months pass by for public comment on the school name, even when they found they didn’t have to under state guidelines. Board members allowed the public to comment after its November board meeting when they didn’t have to, and have been open and transparent throughout the entire process.

District officials can honestly say the new school’s name was chosen through a community process, and the district as a whole should be commended for allowing Austin residents to have input on such a big decision.

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