The cost of 'LEE': How much does a name change cost?

It's been one of the most controversial and chaotic debates all year. How to address the most prominent American icons of the Civil War? San Antonio's Robert E. Lee High school will change its name - at a cost of 300-thousand dollars.

At nearly 650,000 square feet, and almost 60 years old, Robert E. Lee High School has its name written all over it - literally. 

But, that name will soon change to Legacy of Educational Excellence - an acronym for LEE. 

To do so, the North East Independent School District will have to fork over nearly $300,000. 

“An inventory of the entire high school had to take place,” said Aubrey Chancellor, a spokeswoman with the school district. “It is a very large facility. All athletic uniforms, gym floor, gym chairs.” 

Chancellor said keeping the school's mascot, the Volunteers, and the school colors are saving them a whopping $1 million dollars. 

“Some say we went too far, some say we didn't go far enough. I think that in keeping the mascot and the colors, we did what we think was best and what was most financially responsible in terms of taxpayer money,” Chancellor said.

The biggest ticket item, at $94,000, will be replacing athletic gear. 

Junior Varsity Cheerleader Mercedes Diaz says she'll get new uniforms, although she may be able to keep those labeled with just the word, Lee. 

“No one agrees to it, we're so used to being called Robert E. Lee Volunteers, and we like being called it… No one really agrees with it,” said Diaz. 

Another big-ticket item, at $85,000, will be replacing signage on buildings, like the cafeteria and gyms. 

Also in the works is an on-campus museum where a Robert E. Lee statue will be preserved. That'll cost $15,000. 

Compare those amounts to Austin ISD's four secondary schools with confederate names that will also be changed… A spokesperson for the district there says each school will cost an estimated $77,000.

Eyewitness News asked Chancellor why NEISD's costs are so high. She said Lee High School is one of the district’s biggest high schools.

“We've done our best to make sure [the price] is as low as we can possibly make it,” she said. 

 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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