Schools & Education

San Benito High School board to decide name change June 28

Trustees are expected to change the school’s name to Hollister High School.

On June 28, San Benito High School District trustees are scheduled to consider finalizing a renaming of San Benito High School to Hollister High School. The board meetings, which are not recorded or available online, take place at 7 p.m. at the Davis Library on Monterey Street. The full agenda is available here

The finalization wraps up multiple recent examinations of the name change, starting with a unanimous board vote on Nov. 9, 2021 to move forward with the name change process.

The board heard a presentation by Associated Student Body President Antonio Lara on Feb. 8, about the history of high school campuses and names dating back to 1875. Lara’s findings were that not only did the high school’s official name change through the years, but the names San Benito and Hollister were interchangeable throughout the city’s history. 

An April 26 update from Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum about the name change process included his estimate that a name change would cost the district $55,000 to change signs, labels and other logos. The board’s June 14 meeting included time for a public hearing, but no one from the public commented on the item. 

A petition on Change.org was created in late 2021 by Ariana Jimenez calling for a stop to the name change proceedings, which has gained 1,812 backers. Jimenez said in her petition that the change was a pursuit of the ASB and didn’t reflect student or community wishes. 

Finalization of the name change and its associated costs came after a June 14 budget update showing the 2022-23 school year would have general revenues totaling $51.9 million and expenditures totaling $50.6 million. 

 

School attendance

That financial update came after a May 24 update on attendance, where the ripples of COVID-19 are still impacting campuses statewide. The district averaged 96% daily attendance pre-pandemic for the period from December to April, but that fell to 92% in the same period during the 2020-21 school year. 

The report focused on the month of January, where large numbers of students are away with their families, resulting in the lowest attendance of the school year. From 2016-17 to 2019-20 SBHS averaged 94% attendance in January, but attendance in the 2021-22 school year dipped to 81%.

Tennenbaum said strategies are being considered to bring attendance back up to pre-pandemic levels, but were not yet finalized.  

 

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Sean Roney

Sean is a writer and photographer from California’s Central Coast. He began reporting for BenitoLink in 2015. Sean received his BA in communication from CSU Monterey Bay and he has covered news stories in San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara counties. He enjoys traveling California to meet interesting people as well as visit breathtaking places, and is always happy to sit down and share stories. In his free time, Sean enjoys cycling, bikepacking, and novel writing.