FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Fairfax County Public Schools has launched an online fundraising page on its website to raise money for the costs associated with changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School to Justice High School.
The school district has two years to implement the controversial name change. What they don't have right now is the money to do so. Now, they are turning to the public for help.
The web page for donations went live on Friday and the school system is urging the public to donate online or by mail. They insist all donations received will be used toward the costs for the school's renaming.
"As soon as we cast the vote to change the name, we obligated Fairfax County taxpayer funds whether we get any incoming from the public or not," said Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz.
Schultz said the $8,000 raised so far is a far cry from the $1 million it could cost to complete the name change - not including hidden costs.
"Buy and support the boosters with uniforms and spirit wear and just all of the ancillary costs that I think are just very difficult to estimate," Schultz said.
Schultz also wonders if some prominent Stuart High School alumni, who have pushed for the name change, will come forward to donate.
"So the question is where Julianne [Moore]'s half-million-dollar check? Where is Bruce Cohen's money? Where is the Hollywood money we were told was coming forward? I don't see it. Maybe it will come. I guess I have the highest hopes that we will get every single dollar because that takes the burden off the individual Fairfax County taxpayers."
"I think we will see much more," said school board member Sandy Evans. "The folks who had put out the petition that was a nationwide petition with about 40,000 names on it, they have recently pushed out a message to those 40,000 people asking them to make even just small donations."
Fairfax County Public Schools' online plea to the public reminds potential donors that their contribution is tax deductible.
The school district has two years to get a plan and money in place. The name change must be implemented no later than the 2019-2020 school year.
"We called on the superintendent to bring us back an implementation plan by December 14, so he and his staff are working on a plan," said Evans.