Those are the names the Princeton Regional Schools Board has come up with so far as possibilities for what to call the local school district after the two Princetons consolidate.
Because the two Princetons will merge on Jan. 1, 2013, the district will no longer be a regional district, and thus will need to change its name. The district will still maintain its sending/receiving relationship with the Cranbury school district.
School board members briefly debated potential names at the board’s public meeting Tuesday night. They will discuss the issue again at the board’s special meeting Feb. 7.
As part of the renaming process, the school board also unanimously voted Tuesday night to pay consultant Smith and Manning $12,500 to design a new school district “brand identity platform” with a visual identity that includes an icon or logo with graphic elements that communicate the district’s new name change.
“You might think the naming options could be endless, but the options are very few,” Superintendent of Schools Judith Wilson said. “We are keeping the name Princeton, so it really does give us few options that are variation on the same themes, but some of those have more meaning than the others.”
“Whether it is simply the Princeton School District, the Princeton Schools, the Princeton Public Schools, or the Public Schools of Princeton, there is very little variation on the theme, but I will say public schools, as I see it, means all public schools, including all charter schools, those existing and in the future,” Wilson said. “That is a consideration I would put out there. There are other considerations people may feel strongly about such as what the initials would be.”
Board President Rebecca Cox asked her fellow board members for feedback on the naming issue and whether they had a preference. “The designer had an immediate and visceral reaction to the word `district’, which they felt was very bureaucratic.”
Some board members liked Princeton Public Schools because it is simple.
But board member Andrea Spalla said she was concerned about the charter school issue. “I share Judy’s concern about using the word `public’ officially in the name name,” Spalla said. It locks us in to distinguishing ourselves in a way that could feel anachronistic five years from now…Things on the charter school front are probably going to get worse before they get better for us.”
Cox said it could be argued that the real definition of a public school is one where everyone is invited to come and there is no need to apply or enter a lottery for a spot.
“But we’re talking about a name, not a footnote appended to it,” Spalla said. “It should be as simple and clear as possible.”
Board member Tim Quinn suggested the board get feedback from the public using the board’s Facebook page.
“Let’s see what the public is feeling about the use of the word `public’,” Quinn said. “We could also could call ourselves the open public schools…I do share the concern about the nature of public education and the forces trying to redefine what public education is both in our state and nationally.”
Wilson said once the board comes up with a name, it will be forwarded to the Mercer County Superintendent’s Office for approval. She suggested the board chose a new name before the start of the new fiscal year July 1. The district is in the process of having its website redesigned, so it would be good to change the name while the redesign is being done.