Though the Sumner-Bonney Lake School Board officially voted to change the district’s name last month, the state still has to approve the name change. Contributed image

Sumner School Board changes district’s name

10/11 correction: In the original post, it was stated the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District was waiting on the state to approve the district’s name change. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) does not approve or disprove school district name changes, but there is a process for notifying the state and OSPI, according to RCW 28A.320.025. The story has been updated to reflect this.

10/3/2017 original post: The Sumner School District is no more — instead, it will be the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, as soon as the name changing process is finished with the state.

The name change was approved by the district’s board of directors during a Sept. 20 meeting.

“This new name reflects the district’s growth and the fact that more of our families and facilities are now located in Bonney Lake,” School Board President Erin Markquart said in a press release. “This name change also recognizes the significant community partnerships and contributions from Bonney Lake, while honoring our important history in Sumner.”

Since the Sumner School District’s founding in 1891, Bonney Lake has grown to the point that there are twice as many families in Bonney Lake than in Sumner.

Additionally, eight schools are housed inside Bonney Lake’s city limits, compared to Sumner’s four.

When the name change was still being discussed in April, Marquart said the it would cost anywhere between $39,000 and $100,000, and board representative Paul Williams said taxes will not be increased to pay for the name change.

“The numbers will likely be updated based on school board direction after a review of our implementation plan, which will outline scope and timeline,” said Communications Director Elle Warmuth in a Sept. 29 interview.

The district said it will limit costs by continuing to use old letterheads on business cards, forms and other printed materials until supplies run out, and then refreshing stock with updated letterheads.

While the Bonney Lake City Council approved of the name change, many residents have continued to state their disapproval of the change on the school district’s Facebook page.

“Really? This was the best use of the school districts time? We have over-crowding, kids not getting a quality education, funding being slashed, and the best use of the limited funds we have is not to hire more staff, not to figure out how to restructure schools to limit over-crowding, but let’s change the stupid logo and name of of (sic) school district. Wow, you guys really earned your paycheck,” Jennifer Glenn wrote on Sept. 21.

Lynette Fuge wrote, “I’m disappointed that the elected members of the school board chose to ignore the overwhelming voice of their constituents on this matter. I live in BL (Bonney Lake) and feel this was completely unnecessary.”

Warmuth said about one in five comments the district received were positive about the name change.

”I appreciate we have the ability to make changes that reflect the growth in our community,” Hilary Hamlett wrote. “I feel this name change will be a better reflection of both communities the district represents. I have read many comments in this post regarding unnecessary costs. I would recommend clicking on the link in the original post to read information on this matter.”

Julie Gustafson wrote, “Did it occur to anyone that the school board members are also members of the community and also have a personal opinion? They just happen to be in a great position to exercise theirs. Don’t like it? Run for school board. I only wish they had named it Bonney Lake Sumner School District so we would have a better spot on the snow day school closure list.”

Although the school board approved the name change, the name won’t be official until the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and other state agencies are properly notified. The notification process is ministerial, and the state does not approve or disprove name changes.

“We’re still researching and reviewing the state process for the name change,” Warmuth said. “At this point, we’re not sure an exact date for when the new name will become official.”