APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – In a close 4 to 3 vote the Appleton School Board has decided to rename Lincoln Elementary School to Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary, Home of the Lincoln Lions to honor the former late principal of the school.

Yvette Dunlap, Ronald’s widow said, “For the majority of people that live here I don’t know everybody would have selected to be a black man living in Appleton moving forward the belief and the view that we are now ready to become a more welcoming diverse respectful dignified community.”

Karen Nelson, the Co-chair of the Ronald C. Dunlap Steering Committee addressed the board and said, “Renaming Lincoln Elementary Ron C. Dunlap Elementary, Home of the Lincoln Lions for the school that he led with dignity and respect for almost two decades would be a positive progression of change in honor of this pioneer and legend.

Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities also sent a representative who spoke in favor of the name change before Mrs. Dunlap also addressed the board.

There was also discussion from the members who were split on the issue prior to the vote.

Gary Jahnke, Appleton School Board member said, “I really looking for that compelling reasons to rename. That doesn’t mean I’m not in favor of naming something after Ron but I’m still looking for comments, I’m just looking for and would be curious to hear what you guys heard are the compelling reasons to rename, over and above that Ron deserves to have something named after him. What are the compelling reasons to remove Lincoln’s name?”

Yvette said she’s in favor of this name change because it honors her husbands legacy as an educator.

She said, “I think our community is ready to embrace this level of change. Ron was someone that was thought very highly of there was absolutely no doubt he was a man of exemplary character.”

While the board and the community were split regarding the name change decision it ultimately went through and will be changed.

Yvette Dunlap also shared with Local Five that the cost of the name change will be covered by the $30,000 supporters have already raised for the project so no taxpayer dollars will be spent.