Two new Pasco schools get named
Pasco County's two newest schools, scheduled to open in the fall, no longer have letters as placeholder names.
High School GGG on Old Pasco Road will be called Cypress Creek High. Elementary B in Bexley Communities will be called Bexley Elementary.
School Board members unanimously approved both choices on Tuesday. But their votes did not come without some concerns.
When talking about the elementary school, superintendent Kurt Browning observed that naming a school after its subdivision carries some risks.
"Sometimes schools get associated with the community, and if you ever go to rezone ... then you move to take Bexley people out of 'their' school," Browning said, making clear he had no objection to any particular name.
Board member Alison Crumbley said that point came through loudly in emails she got, not necessarily for this school but in reaction to proposed new boundaries for several middle and high schools. She suggested the name Sandhill Elementary, after the cranes.
Board member Cynthia Armstrong, by contrast, stuck with her preference that schools have names reflecting their locations.
"I understand the concern about naming it Bexley and about ownership," Armstrong said. "But I also feel with the number of schools we have in this county it really is easier if you name it where people can identify where it is."
Deputy superintendent Ray Gadd noted that Bexley Communities will have several schools in it when the development is complete, so the board will have many opportunities to name schools there.
The board stuck with Bexley Elementary.
Crumbley then recommended high school be named Cypress Creek, after the nearby swamp. That idea ran into some resistance from board member Allen Altman, who represents the area. Altman said many people he knows did not like the Cypress Creek name, in part because the creek is pretty far away from the site.
He proposed the name McKendree Ranch, after one of the original settlers of the land, with the mascot of the Cowboys.
That idea bothered Armstrong, who reiterated her stance on place names.
"I have an objection to naming it after a person or family. Down the road, it can lead to problems if the school ever needs to be renamed," Armstrong said.
The board faced a backlash after renaming the Fred K. Marchman Technical Center last year, for instance.
Board member Steve Luikart recommended waiting for student input before deciding a name, but the rest of the board rejected that idea, noting that the attendance zone won't even be set until January. The board then adopted the name Cypress Creek High.