By Dalton Karwacki
The Princeton Regional Schools will officially change its name to Princeton Public Schools in July, the school board voted tonight.
As a result of the imminent consolidation of the two Princetons, the district was legally required to be renamed, as it will no longer be a regional district. Even though consolidation does not take effect until January 1, 2013, school officials pushed to make the decision sooner so that the name could be changed in time for the new academic and fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
The board voted 5-4 to adopt Princeton Public Schools as the new name. In preparation for the vote, the board placed a survey on the district’s website asking citizens to vote on their favorite of the two choices the board had narrowed the potential names down to, Princeton Public Schools and Princeton School District. According to Superintendent Judith Wilson, the respondents represented a broad sample of the community.
“We had 537 responses, which is a lot, for an issue like this,” she said. “There was a really good representation of students, a good representation of staff, of parents and general community members. And it is neck-in-neck.”
Princeton School District was favored by 50 percent of respondents, while Princeton Public Schools received 47 percent of the vote.
“It ran along those lines in several categories, but not all,” Wilson said.
Board Vice President Tim Quinn noted that the name change does not reflect any change to the district’s sending-receiving relationship with Cranbury.
“I think it bears repeating, this does not affect our relationship with Cranbury at all,” he said. “We are not a regional district on the basis of Cranbury.”
Princeton receives a per-pupil fee for taking in students from Cranbury, but the district does not tax Cranbury residents directly, which is the key difference.
“We have no authority, nor desire to levy taxes on Cranbury,” he said. “Not to speak for our good neighbors in Cranbury, but I think that the relationship, as it exists, is a symbiosis, and it’s wonderful, and I don’t see any reason for that to change.”
Quinn said that the entire renaming process clearly showed that people care about the name of the district.
“I think we found that self-identification is very important to people,” he said. “What we call ourselves matters, and we got about 37 or 38 comments to our Facebook page.”