By SHERIDAN ROY
Either Plantsville, South End, or Flanders Elementary Schools may have a new name by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
Former school officials and residents brought a petition to the board of education to honor Zaya A. Oshana by naming a school facility after him.
Oshana served on the board of education for 34 years, and passed away in 2017. He was also a former fifth grade teacher and vice principal within the Southington Public School system.
“When a request comes to the board of education, we have to look at our policy, which states the chair must appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate if the person meets the criteria stated for a facility to be named after,” said BOE vice chair Terri Carmody, who chairs the facility naming committee overseeing the process. “At our first meeting, it was decided that Zaya Oshana did indeed meet the criteria.”
The BOE’s “procedures for the naming of school facilities” policy states in order to meet the criteria, the individual shall be a prominent national or statewide figure whose name and reputation are widely known and accepted, and shall have been involved over a long period of time with education in general or with SPS in particular and shall have exhibited demonstrably distinguished service deserving of special recognition.
“There was no question within the ad hoc committee that Mr. Oshana fit the criteria,” said Carmody. “After review of the policy and criteria, we felt he was deserving.”
The three elementary schools in question are being considered because they are not already named after a specific person, Carmody said.
Naming school facilities falls within the BOE jurisdiction. Once the ad hoc committee has reviewed the petition and held a public input meeting, the committee will then make a recommendation to the superintendent. The recommendation will then come before the BOE for discussion and finally, a vote. It must pass with two-thirds vote.
The committee held its public input meeting on May 20.
“Parents and children came in to address the committee and tell us what they thought about the name change,” said Carmody. “Many were not in favor.”
Many of the comments were related to the schools’ histories. Carmody said comments made at the public input meeting will be taken into consideration when the committee makes its recommendation.
The committee will make its recommendation at a public meeting on June 11 at the municipal center. The board of education will vote on the recommendation on June 20.
Urbin T. Kelley Elementary School and Walter Derynoski Elementary School are both named after long-time BOE members. Kelley served 43 years and Derynoski served 41 years.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.