(Updated 1/7/14 at 10:33 p.m.)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It could cost up to $400,000, but the school board says it's worth it. Tuesday night the Duval County Public School Board voted to change the name of Forrest High School to Westside High School in what could be a costly switch.
The vote ended the debate that has been going on for decades, quietly. There wasn't even a discussion at the school board meeting on the name change that's dominated the conversation for the past year.
With a simple vote, Nathan B. Forrest High School became Westside High.
"It has been a controversy for many years, and I know that. So I'm not going to grieve over a name change," said Lynn Coarely.
The school's namesake has been at the center of a very public debate for the past year. A Change.Org petition with over 160,000 signatures calls Nathan B. Forrest a slave trader and KKK member.
Opponents of the change say Jacksonville is trying to wipe out the city's history.
"The alumni, we're over it. It's going to be changed. And most of the people feel the current student body doesn't deserve the name," said Joan Cooper.
Superintendent Nikkoli Vitti said students favored naming the school Westside High 2-to-1, and the board voted unanimously to change it.
Cooper said more than the name could be changing in the school district. "Come election time, it should be interesting."
The School Board says they will try to solicit private donations to pay for the name change, which will take effect in July of 2014.
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