FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The naming of Fresno Unified’s new alternative school came with controversy.
At Wednesday night’s school board meeting, community members said a majority of people wanted the school to be named after world-renowned Armenian journalist Roger Tatarian. Instead, the board chose to name the new school after local philanthropists Francine and Murray Farber.
Fresno Unified Trustee Terry Slatic said he wishes Fresno Unified took into account what community members had to say before voting on the name.
“The school district says hey let’s do a poll let’s see what the citizens and constituents want well unfortunately that data came back in a way they didn’t want it,” said Slatic.
Fresno Unified had a survey on their website asking community members to nominate a prominent person to have the new school named after. The results came in showing a large majority wanting Roger Tatarian.
“So now we are going to take the vote-getter that was third but has donated a lot of money and name the campus after them,” said Slatic.
According to Fresno Unified Superintendent, Bob Nelson, people were not voting to name the school, but rather suggesting candidates for the board to vote on.
“Really the survey is designed to do is ask who are the worthy individuals who are up for consideration and professional staff provides the names of the people who have been named the most often then the board and their jurisdictional authority decides who they will name the campus after,” said Nelson.
Nelson said the Farber’s have given scholarships to Fresno Unified students for years and believes they are worthy of the school being named after them.
Nelson also addressing the absence of Fresno Unified school named after a prominent Armenian.
“There is not a prominently named building for someone from the Armenian community that’s a gap and clearly the Armenian community has played a huge role in the history of the valley and is seminal to the Fresno story,” said Nelson.