AISD expected to end name battle over Robert E. Lee Elementary


AUSTIN (KXAN)After months of heated public debate and a school naming process that made national headlines for recommendations like Donald Trump and Hitler — the time has come for the Austin Independent School District board of trustees to land on a new name for Robert E. Lee Elementary.

A campus advisory group at Lee Elementary narrowed the list down to three finalists after more than 200 names were submitted by the public.

Will it be the first University of Texas professor of photography known for his inspiring teaching style and respect for diversity, Russell Lee? Or Bettie Mann, the first African-American teacher and parent at Lee Elementary? Last but not least is Wheeler’s Grove. It’s the site of Austin’s first Juneteenth celebrations, and was a well-known public gathering place for African-Americans from the late 1860s to the early 1900s. The area is now called Eastwoods Park.

Monday night, the superintendent will also present a snapshot of the district’s recommended 2016-2017 $1.3 billion budget. The biggest change since the preliminary budget was presented in April is an across-the-board employee pay raise which went from 3% up to 4%. The difference between the two options is $5 million. The budget also includes $7.3 million in decreases, and $3.9 million of that is due to lower payroll costs caused by a decrease in student enrollment.

Board members will also be voting on a recommendation by the administration to fire David Dean, the principal of Burnet Middle School. He is accused of preying on an 11-year-old girl who authorities say is a distant relative.

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