Prairie Land School Division Trustees heard loud and clear of the Delia community’s position on renaming their local school.
On Tues. Dec. 8, Prairie Land held a community meeting that had close to 90 people sharing their thoughts to the board of trustees.
There was a mix of opinions and suggestions such as leaving the name as Delia School or changing to Delia Community School.
Prairie Land’s trustee meeting Dec. 15 held some time for trustees and administration to discuss what they heard at the prior community meeting.
A motion was made by Shandele Battle, Delia’s School Trustee and local Delia business owner, to keep the Delia School name the same.
The board carried this motion.
“It is a community school even if [the word] ‘Community’ isn’t in it. It warms my heart to see a community that is so attached to their school,” said Dep. Chair Marsha Tkach.
Later in the board meeting, they reviewed a policy hoping to add in clear direction as to future naming of school district buildings by implementing a naming committee.
No motion was made to implement changes suggested by the board yet but will be reviewed again in January.
What initially started this push for inclusivity on this decision came down to an online post.
Blair Herzog posted in the local ‘Delia & Surrounding areas info’ Facebook Group regarding the potential renaming of Delia School to Ray Martin Delia School or R.J. Martin Delia School on Dec. 1.
He shared his frustrations claiming there has been zero consultation with the community after finding the topic within the contents of the board minutes.
“Such a momentous opportunity should, at no time fall to one board member’s personal association to Ray Martin nor should the decision be made by only a handful of people, most of who are not even from the community.
“It should have 100 per cent community consultation and should be, unquestionably, a community decision,” stated Herzog.
A letter to the editor was also published in the ECA Review last week from Rhea Brady of Delia who also shared concerns.
“More than a million dollars was raised by the area to pay for extras in the school that are not covered by government funding.
“If the community was good enough to be used for fundraising then it only is fitting and fair that the community be good enough to be consulted in the naming of the new school,” said Brady.
Trustee Battle addressed the matter with an open letter that was posted to the online group Dec. 8.
She acknowledged the issue saying, “The suggestion was completely innocent in honouring a man who advocated for his home community, even though he hasn’t lived here for a long time.
“However, in no way shape or form would I have recommended this name had I known how our community would have perceived it.
“This was not done for a personal agenda or purpose; it was about paying homage to a man, regardless of his political party.”