FAIRBANKS — Midnight Sun Elementary School was selected as the new name for Badger Road Elementary School, effective July 1.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Board of Education approved the name in a 3-2 vote at its regular meeting Tuesday.
The board chose the name from a list honed by a School Name Advisory Committee. It was reviewed by Superintendent Karen Gaborik.
The two other names submitted to the board were Ursa Major Elementary School and Tr’enyaxde Elementary School.
Tr’enyaxde is the Minto Athabascan word for “where we are growing.”
School board member Sharon McConnell said although she is Alaska Native, Tr’enyaxde is hard to pronounce.
She said she feared no one would use the proper name and a nickname would develop as it has at other schools.
Ticasuk Brown Elementary School is often shortened to “Tic.” McConnell said it’s disrespectful.
She made the motion to name the school Midnight Sun, which won by a slim margin.
School board President Heidi Haas said she felt Midnight Sun could be confusing because the district has a Midnight Sun Academy, which is operated out of the residential treatment center at Family Centered Services of Alaska. She voted no.
Ursa Major was the name championed by Eryn Tanner, the student representative on the school board.
She said Ursa Major was the most popular of the three names among her peers.
School board member Sean Rice called on the board to delay the naming, and the expense of replacing signs, until the district has a grasp on its budget for the 2017-18 school year.
“Changing the name of the school right now is just not a top priority,” he said.
Rice moved to postpone the naming but his motion failed.
Badger Road is named after Harry M. Badger, a strawberry farmer in the 1900s and a convicted child rapist, according to newspaper accounts of his crime 100 years ago.
School board member Michael O’Brien brought the issue to light, and fellow school board members determined an elementary school should not bear the name of a pedophile.
The school board in November decided to rename Badger Road Elementary School despite objections from some parents, employees and alumni of the school.
Almost 100 other names reportedly were submitted to the school naming committee, which was led by former North Pole Mayor Jeff Jacobson.
The cost for changing the school’s name was estimated at $35,000 to remove and replace several signs, according to a Nov. 7 memorandum to the school board.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.