By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PERU — The building comprising Peru Central’s seventh through 12th grades is now known as Peru Junior/Senior High School.
The School Board voted unanimously this week in favor of adopting the new name, which garnered the most votes on a public survey offered by the district.
“It is my feeling that we should honor the results of that survey because we went to the trouble of making sure that survey happened,” Board President Donna LaRocque told meeting attendees before the vote.
“We opened it up to the public, (and) we had a lot of students vote on that.”
The idea to re-title the institution came in early 2013, when the district’s former Middle and High schools combined.
While the schools were housed in the same building even before merging, they were previously under separate administration.
The restructuring also resulted in the merging of the former Peru Primary and Intermediate schools to form one institution covering kindergarten through sixth grade. At the time, it became informally known as Peru Elementary School, a name that was also made official at this week’s meeting.
Because some services that PCSD purchases are priced based on the number of schools in the district, the restructuring stands to bring savings, as it combined Peru Central’s four schools into two.
The name change was put into effect retroactively as of Aug. 1, 2013.
In addition to “Peru Junior/Senior High School,” survey takers also had the option of voting for other potential names for the secondary grades, including “Peru Academy,” or writing in their own suggestions.
The survey was accessible through the district’s website, perucsd.org, for a portion of February and March. Shortly after it closed, however, some residents expressed concern to the board that many people never knew the survey existed or did not have Internet access.
It was also noted at the time that the site allowed individuals to vote multiple times and didn’t prohibit non-residents from participating.
“There is some discussion as to whether that was a flawed survey or not, but it still is a survey,” LaRocque said at the recent meeting.
“We put it out there, we followed the regulations (and) guidelines that we set forward, and I think we need to honor that survey.”
At the same session, the board accepted the resignation of member Jonathan Ruff, effective Oct. 14, and appointed Genie Denton to fill his seat, effective Nov. 12, 2013, through May 21, 2014.
LaRocque noted that Ruff resigned not because of his unwillingness to serve on the board but because he no longer lives in the district, which is required of board members by law.
“We did have several people interested in (Ruff’s seat), and the board met and went over the letters of interest, and it was a unanimous decision to appoint Ms. Denton to fill the vacancy,” LaRocque said.
The meeting was also used to recognize former School Board member David Hall, who died on Oct. 18, after serving 15 years on the board.
LaRocque noted that his passing was especially difficult for her, as she had helped save Hall’s life a little less than two years ago.
Following a board meeting in March 2012, Hall collapsed as a result of a blood clot and was unconscious and without a pulse on the district’s Community Room floor.
LaRocque and other school officials sprang to action, calling 911, performing CPR, and hooking Hall up to a defibrillator, which restored his heartbeat.
“He was a wonderful man,” LaRocque said.
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