Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder thinks North Thurston Public Schools should change its name to Lacey School District as a “gift” to celebrate Lacey’s 50th birthday. I disagree.
The North Thurston district was founded in 1953 and included only South Bay and Lacey grade schools. North Thurston’s name was chosen because it was “inclusive” of the larger geographic area it serves. For 63 years, the district flourished and educated generations of students who reside in communities like South Bay, Olympia, Lacey, Johnson Point, Nisqually, Kelly’s Corner, etc.
Lacey thinks the district should abandon its name because we identify with Lacey? Wrong! We identify with our school district and our communities. Those of us who live outside Lacey pay the same taxes to the district as Lacey residents. We vote for the school board. It is irrelevant that many of the district’s schools are in Lacey or that Lacey has staked claims to territory in its self-established urban growth boundary. Changing the name of the district to Lacey would belie the district’s rich history and disenfranchise everybody but those who live in Lacey.
I celebrate Lacey’s 50th birthday and congratulate the city on its accomplishments, but relinquishing our school district’s proud historical name is not an appropriate gift. The school district belongs to all of us.
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Taxpayer money should be spent on education, not repainting school buses, equipment, signs and stationery.
What’s in a name? It matters, it’s history, it’s personal, and it’s important.