JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the Duval County School Board’s decision to rename Robert E. Lee High, the Confederate general’s name has been removed from the sign outside the Jacksonville school. The names of Jefferson Davis Middle School and Joseph Finegan Elementary are also down on Thursday morning.
A spokesperson for Duval County Public Schools sent News4Jax a statement on Wednesday saying it was “confirmed today that the original signage has been removed.” It’s unclear exactly when the new signage will be installed.
SIGN OF THE TIMES | The sign for Robert E. Lee High School was removed today according to @DuvalSchools. No word yet on when the letters for Riverside High School (the new name) will go up. #News4Jax @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/NuGPT8eHYm— Joe McLean (@JoeMcLeanNews) June 30, 2021
The decision to rename Lee High came after nearly 11 months of debate. The School Board voted June 1 in favor of the superintendent’s decision to rename six public schools that are branded after controversial historical figures.
As part of the superintendent’s recommendations, Robert E. Lee High will be renamed Riverside High School. The name change is slated to be implemented Aug. 3. Jefferson Davis Middle School will become Charger Academy.
Other school names that will be changed include J.E.B. Stuart Middle, which becomes Westside Middle; Kirby-Smith Middle will be renamed Springfield Middle School; Joseph Finegan Elementary will become Anchor Academy; and Stonewall Jackson Elementary will be renamed Hidden Oaks Elementary.
Three other schools that were under consideration -- Jean Ribault Middle, Jean Ribault High and Andrew Jackson High -- will keep their names.
The total cost of changing Lee to Riverside High School is expected to come in about $366,000. That’s $80,000 more than the original estimate.
The price tag includes signs – but most of the money will go toward new uniforms for athletic teams and band uniforms. Private donations will cover 76% of the cost, with the other 24% coming from the school district’s beverage contract.