Replacing school’s Confederate name to be less costly

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Dumping a confederate general’s name from a Louisiana high school will be costly — but not as expensive as once estimated.

The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that changing the name of Lee High School to Liberty High School will cost Baton Rouge school officials about $170,000. That is at least $80,000 less than previous estimates.

East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Superintendent Leslie Brown announced the lower estimate at a Thursday night meeting. She credited the school system’s construction management firm with finding ways to cut costs.

Among the costs in the new estimate: $60,000 for athletic uniforms, $17,000 for interior signs and $93,000 for exterior signs.

The name change was approved in July amid nationwide protests over the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Lee High opened as Robert E. Lee High in 1959. Critics of having a public school named for a Confederate leader tried for years to have the name changed. “Robert E.” was excised from the school’s name in 2016.

A private fundraising effort to help pay for the renaming has raised more than $55,000 — including a $5,000 donation from CSRS/Tillage Program Management, the school system’s construction management firm, and $50,000 from the nonprofit group New Schools for Baton Rouge.

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