The Du Quoin Unit District 300 school board is considering changes to its process for naming school facilities that would allow the naming committee to debate in private, and would require the committee to come back with a recommendation.
In the wake of last year's non-decision, when the school board ended up rejecting both proposals to name the high school football stadium for one of two legendary coaches -- Al Martin and Bob Karnes -- Superintendent Matt Hickam has suggested changing two aspects of the process.
Not only did the school board not choose a name for the stadium, the committee the board assigned to study both proposals essentially punted and made no recommendation.
Hickam said the school board was frustrated in the committee's lack of a recommendation, although everyone understood the sensitive nature of the request.
Hickam said Monday that he thinks that allowing the committee to deliberate in private would make it easier for members to speak frankly among themselves and reach a recommendation on future naming requests.
To avoid being considered a public body and therefore having to meet publicly, the committee would have to be organized under the superintendent's office and not under the school board, he explained.
The school board had some discussion on Hickam's proposals at last week's meeting, and will take them up again at the February meeting.
"We had a unique situation," Hickam said, regarding the emotional debate over Martin and Karnes. "Most of the time it'll be just one name under consideration."
His second proposal is that a naming committee be required to make a recommendation, Hickam added.
School board member Mark Woodside said he'd like to see a layer of "vetting" added to the naming proposal process, so proposals made by the public would first go through some experts in the district before automatically coming to the school board and triggering the formation of a naming committee.
If the proposal involves sports, Woodside added, "It would be wiser to let the (athletic director) bring it forward ... otherwise every time we get a letter we have to form a committee. It would be nice to have other people on the ground vetting the proposal."
Hickam, meanwhile, said while he wouldn't be surprised if some people in the community brought up either Martin, Karnes -- or both -- for reconsideration, the district has gotten no proposals to date.
"I do think at some point it'll come back," he said.