Richmond Public Schools is selling T-shirts to help pay for the costs of renaming a Confederate-named elementary school to instead honor former President Barack Obama.
The city School Board voted in June to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to Barack Obama Elementary School, a change that will take effect before the start of the upcoming school year, school officials expect.
Since the vote last month, one question has lingered overhead: How will RPS pay for the renaming?
Administrators put the price tag at $26,000 — $12,000 for “essential” replacements and $14,000 for other things. It would cost $10,000 to replace the biggest-ticket item: an iconic stone facade on the school ingrained with the name of the Confederate cavalry leader.
To raise money to pay off the costs, the school division has decided to sell T-shirts with the word “Obama” boldly centering the other text.
The T-shirts, which can be purchased through Bonfire, are being sold for $19.95.
Proceeds will go to the Richmond Education Foundation, which will pay for the renaming costs.
“This is a great way to show pride in RPS and save the division some money,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras, the brainchild behind renaming the school in honor of Obama, in an email to members of the School Board.
Kamras, who took over the school division in February, advised Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign.
The division hopes to sell 3,000 shirts. The shirts will start shipping Aug. 6.