Orange County Schools plans to spend $200,000 on renaming 2 schools

School Watch

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Officials with the Orange County School Board have set aside $200,000 in their budget for the next fiscal year for the renaming and rebranding of two different schools.

Earlier this year, the school board voted to rename Cameron Park Elementary, which was named after Paul Carrington Cameron, a plantation owner and slaveholder.

The board also voted to change the name of C.W. Stanford Middle School, which was named after Charles W. Stanford, a school board member during the segregation era.

Current leaders proposed changing the name of C.W. Stanford Middle School because during this era black families were not allowed to address the board and they argued Stanford didn’t move quickly enough to integrate the schools.

James Stanford, C.W.’s grandson, argues that his grandfather did fight for desegregation and that his grandfather always treated everyone with respect. He argues the name of the school should not have been changed.

“The school board has managed to insult the memory of my grandfather and they’ve managed to insult my family,” Stanford said.

Stanford said he was shocked when he found out the district plans to spend $200,000 on renaming these two schools.

During a budget committee meeting on March 17th, school officials said in addition to new signage, the $200,000 will also go toward new athletic and band uniforms.

“Quite frankly in my mind, it’s a tremendous waste of money,” Stanford said. “That’s money that I think could be better spent on more pressing needs. In this day and age of COVID and with the stay-at-home learning, I’m sure there are many expenses that could be undertaken to help catch the kids up.”

Stanford argues that it is not too late for the district to change their mind and leave the name of C.W. Stanford Middle School alone.

“It’s not too late to correct the mistake that they have made and redirect the expenditures of these funds on more pressing issues,” Stanford said.

During a special meeting on Tuesday night, the school board will hold a public hearing for their budget for the next fiscal year.

CBS 17 reached out to the Orange County School Board and the Superintendent’s Office for a comment on their plan to spend $200,000 on the renaming of these schools, but we have not heard back.

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