Howard School of Academics and Technology will go back to its roots as the school takes on its original name, the Howard School.
The Hamilton County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to change the school's name back to the name it went by for more than 100 years. The academics and technology portion of the name was added about 20 years ago after a committee reviewed ways to improve Howard's image and vocational programs were moved in after the closing of Kirkman Technological High School.
But since Howard and Brainerd High were moved off magnet school status last month, officials say Howard's title should be changed back.
"This is something the community wants. It's something the principal wants. And I think it's a good time to do it," said school board member George Ricks, who represents the school.
Officials said neither the name change nor the move from magnet status would affect funding for Howard or Brainerd. Because magnet school grants have expired, those schools are no longer eligible for any special funding, said Christie Jordan, director of accounting and budgeting.
Also on Thursday, the school board heard an update on a new school and approved the use of a third-party agency for collection of overdue debt on school breakfast and lunch costs.
School nutrition director Carolyn Childs said families owed more than $70,000 for meals charged during the last school year. The collection agency will be better equipped at recouping debts than school officials, she said.
Officials said construction work on the county's science, technology, engineering and math school, set to open in August on the campus of Chattanooga State Community College, is well under way. The school, partially funded by a $1.8 million state grant, will be ready by Aug. 1, said Gary Waters, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services.
"It's truly phenomenal the ways it's taking shape," he said.
Superintendent Rick Smith said more donors have stepped forward to help fund the school, though he said he wasn't ready to publicly share who or how much was donated. He said the school's principal and six teachers have already been selected and will spend the next couple months preparing for this fall's incoming 78 students.
"They're going to spend the entire summer preparing for the first class of students," he said.