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Dixie School District board continues name change discussion

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The Board of Trustees of the Dixie Elementary School District on Tuesday evening will continue its discussion about possibly changing the district’s name, which some find racist.

The board will discuss proposals regarding a name change that were reached during a meeting on Feb. 28.

They include surveying the community on the issue, selecting a committee to manage the process, selecting a citizens’ committee and drafting a resolution that commits the board to change the name of the district and an elementary school. The full cost of the name change would be privately financed, under the latter proposal.

Any of the proposals could be brought back for discussion and consideration, adapted, or combined with other proposals, and board members could suggest new proposals for discussion, district Superintendent Jason Yamashiro said in a memo to the Board of Trustees.

Proponents of the name change, Change The Name, say the word Dixie is associated with segregation, white supremacy and segregation dating back to the Civil War era.

Opponents of the name change, We Are Dixie, argue the district was named after Mary Dixie, a Miwok Indian woman who had ties to James Miller, who built the first schoolhouse in San Rafael in 1849.

The school trustees in February voted to reject each of the 13 petitions that contained a different name for the district. Each petition needed a majority approval from the five-member board.

The school district was founded in 1864 and its three K-5 elementary schools and one grade 6-8 school serve the communities of Terra Linda, Marinwood, Lucas Valley and a portion of Contempo Marin. Tuesday’s meeting at the district’s office at 380 Nova Albion Way in San Rafael will start with a closed session scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. followed by a public session.

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