Cost of changing name of Robert E. Lee High School too high say supporters of keeping the name

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The debate to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School has intensified.

David Jones is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and a 1982 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School.

When it comes to changing the name, Jones wants to know how Tyler ISD will pay for it and if it’s worth it for taxpayers.

“Where’s the money going to come from and is it really, truly a priority?” he asked. “Band, football, the football field everything associated with sports would be an immense cost. I don’t think that the taxpayers are going to want to pay for that.”

The debate has been a topic of discussion for decades – the most recent in 2018 when the board tabled the motion to discuss at a later date.

Over the past several weeks, protestors have gathered asking for the name to be changed. They even met at the Tyler ISD board meeting to make their voices heard, but the topic of discussion was not on the agenda.

Now two petitions have been circling – one in support of the name change and one asking for it to remain the same.

“It’s not going to get to better unless we actively fight against racism and fight against racist symbols. And start to heal the wounds that are 400 plus old in this country,” said D. Karen Wilkerson, class of 1968.

Jones said the reasoning behind the name of Robert E. Lee and wants to know how far the name change will go.

“Then the people of the good city of Tyler will have to come together vote. To change Robert E. Lee and John Tyler [high school] and the city’s name,” he said.

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