Committee submits new names for school

An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED
An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

REGION 16 — The naming committee for the new school in Prospect has submitted a fresh set of names for consideration and Chatfield Elementary School is not among the list.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Jacqueline Jacoby reported, during the Board of Education’s meeting Wednesday night, the committee has submitted the names Hillcrest Elementary School, Prospect Elementary School and White Oak Elementary School for the prekindergarten-through-fifth-grade-school to be built on New Haven Road in Prospect.

The school board originally voted to name the school Chatfield Elementary School in February, but rescinded the vote nearly a month later due to procedural errors.

A controversy over the idea of naming the school Chatfield Elementary School, which was suggested as an honor to longtime Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, followed the vote in February.

The naming of the school after a person led to a public outcry from residents. The region oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospects and residents from both towns spoke against using a proper name for a region school.

Chatfield himself has made sure to school will not bear his name.

Jacoby said Chatfield came before the naming committee last week to ask his name be removed from consideration.

Chatfield, who said he was overcome with emotion when he first learned the school was to be named after him, felt the issue has become political.

“I didn’t want to create any more problems,” said Chatfield Thursday in a phone interview.

Chatfield said he also suggested to the committee that the school should have “a Region 16 school” under the name.

“I’m moving on,” Chatfield said regarding the naming issue.

The board didn’t discuss the new name suggestions Wednesday night. A special meeting is scheduled for April 29 at 7 p.m. at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls for the board to vote on a name. At the special meeting, the board will pick two more names to add to the committee’s suggestions before voting to name the school.