PLACENTIA : Trustees OK Change in District Name

Ending years of debate in the Placentia Unified School District, the school board has voted to add Yorba Linda to the district's title.

School board members on Tuesday voted 4 to 2 to change the name of the district to the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. The decision came after parents' and residents' groups made several attempts to change the district's name.

Most recently, a group of parents petitioned the board to add Yorba Linda to the name, a move intended to reflect the city with the largest share of the district's 20,000-student population. Just over half of the students in the district come from Yorba Linda.

"I think the time is here; the time is right," Trustee Quentin P. Goodman said. "It should have been done a long time ago."

The name change will become effective June 30, which is also the final day of a two-year transition period put into place when the Placentia and Yorba Linda school districts merged in 1989. Under the terms of the merger, the board is to be reduced to five members. Goodman, a member of the old Yorba Linda school board, will leave the panel July 1.

"I think it's time," Trustee Karin M. Freeman said. "It really should have been accomplished at the time of the merger."

Still, opponents said that changing the name is a waste of money in the face of $9 million in budget cuts this year. Trustees Constance Underhill and Barbara S. Williams voted against the change.

"Is it more important to paint a bus with 'Placentia-Yorba Linda,' or is it more important to help a child?" said Isabelle Jambon Hlavac, a former trustee.

School administrators said the district will have to spend $6,500 to meet state requirements to change the name on school buses and several signs. The district has about $300,000 left in a merger account, which is earmarked for capital projects but could be used for costs incurred from the name change, school officials said.

An additional $27,000 will be needed to cover the costs of changing the district's name on stationery, signs and in computer files. School officials said that those changes will be made when the district runs out of supplies and when it buys a new computer.

"It goes without saying that the timing is not exactly ideal," Freeman said. "But some of the costs could be staggered."

In the last few months, residents had petitioned to change the name to the Placentia Linda Unified School District and the Placentia Area Unified School District, but those proposals were defeated.

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