SOUTHINGTON — One of three town elementary schools could get a new name following a Board of Education committee’s decision to honor former teacher, administrator and board member Zaya Oshana Sr.
Oshana, whose son is on the school board, was the longest-serving school board member with 34 years. He died two years ago.
South End, Flanders and Plantsville schools are under consideration. While there’s support for honoring Oshana, some Plantsville parents have started a petition to keep the school’s name unchanged.
The school board’s facility naming committee will meet with parents of all three schools at 4 p.m. at the John Weichsel Municipal Center on Tuesday.
Terri Carmody, chairwoman of the committee, there was plenty of support to recommend Oshana.
“There doesn’t seem to be any objection to the naming happening for Mr. Oshana. There might be some concern over which schools want it and which schools don’t want it,” she said.
Carmody was aware of the petition and opposition from some Plantsville parents but hadn’t heard directly from anyone yet.
“We have to as a committee listen to what the three schools have to say and make a decision,” she said.
The school district’s naming policy starts with a petition from residents to name a building after prominent person who worked in education and is worthy of special recognition.
The petition for Oshana was started by Angelo Coppola, a former assistant superintendent, and Beecher Lajoie, a former Thalberg school principal.
Oshana was a fifth-grade teacher and vice principal. He also taught at the University of New Haven.
“It’s quite a wonderful biography,” Carmody said. She served on the board with him for two years. ““No one has any objection to Mr. Oshana himself. There’s no question they feel he is worthy.”
Once the committee recommends a school be renamed, the decision must be finalized by a two-thirds majority of the nine-member school board. That’ll likely take place in late June, according to Carmody.
An online petition to keep the Plantsville school name unchanged had nearly 150 signatures on Monday. Signers said the Plantsville name honors two brothers and business owners who helped establish the section of town.
Ebenezer Howard Plant and Amzi Perrin Plant formed The Plant Manufacturing Co. in the mid-1800s along the banks of the Quinnipiac River.
Carmody said she’d researched that with the Historical Society and couldn’t find any direct link between Amzi and Ebenezer Plant and the school’s name.
South End School is off South End Road.
Flanders School is near Flanders Street and Flanders Road.
While Derynoski School is the last to be renamed, the board has more recently named a gymnasium, vocational agriculture center, preschool center and tennis court after important education figures. School board Chairman Brian Goralski said the board has jurisdiction over the naming of school buildings.