High school renamed before it even opens

High school renamed before it even opens (Fox San Antonio)

SAN ANTONIO -- The newest high school in the Judson Independent School District hasn't even opened yet and it's already getting a name change.

By a vote of 5-to-1, the board of trustees decided Tuesday to remove the name of former superintendent Dr. Willis Mackey. Crews could be seen taking down the letters from the front of the school less than two hours after the decision.

It will now be called Veterans Memorial High School instead.

Dr. Mackey retired last school year after more than seven years as the Judson superintendent.

But in recent months, a very vocal and organized portion of the community made it clear they did not want this high school named after him.

During bond elections in May, a proposition to add a wing to Mackey High School was the only Judson measure that failed.

"The man has brought a lot of controversy to the school district," said Lee Ann Ferguson, who attended Tuesday's board meeting and supported the change.

"I think it's a great name change," said Trustee Jose Macias, who voted for the change. "Obviously it's intended to reunite our community. This issue's been divisive and it's time to bring us together and start focusing on other matters. But this really did matter to our community."

But not everyone had a problem with the name.

"I didn't work for the man, but I knew the man, and he was a highly respected professional," said Randy Pannell. "Once you make a decision, you should stick with that decision. If nothing else, integrity. And not break under political pressure."

Veterans Memorial High School opens in August with about 450 freshmen and sophomores.

It will still have the same mascot, the Patriots.

As for the cost of the name change, district officials say it'll be about $17,000.

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