The name of Chandler’s oldest elementary school will be changed, but not the way that some residents wanted.
The governing board of the Chandler Unified School District voted Wednesday to change Hartford Elementary School to “Hartford-Sylvia Encinas Elementary School,” in response to the community’s demands to honor a former secretary suffering from cancer.
The decision angered some, including José Garcia, who said that he appreciates the gesture but it didn’t go far enough.
“I was born in Arizona, but for all of my life I’ve been a hyphenated American,” Garcia said. “I’m Mexican-American. Now, in the school system, you’re going to hyphenate us again.”
Other community members nodded and clapped in agreement, arguing that it should just be called “Sylvia Encinas Elementary School.”
Board president Annette Auxier said she understood their feelings, but didn’t want to ruin the moment meant to honor Encinas.
“We love Sylvia and we love what she stands for,” Auxier said.
Garcia said he will petition the board to reconsider the name change.
The district suggested the combination of names to preserve the history of the 50-year-old school while still honoring Encinas.