During a work session on Tuesday night, the board held an open discussion about moving forward in the process, though no concrete decisions were made. Newly-elected board president Jeff Steiner opened the discussion.
BELLEFONTE — As the calendar flipped to 2022, the Bellefonte school board continues to discuss the re-branding of the district’s nickname, moniker and logo.
“I think that we’re approaching a point with this that everyone — with whatever side they may be with — feels as though we need to come to some sort of conclusion one way or another with this,” Steiner said. “No one wants to see us spending any more of our time on this. It’s been going on for a long time and we certainly have a lot of pressing and important issues that we need to turn our focus on.”
The discussion began in 2020 and has dragged on for more than 18 months.
Several key points were brought up at the work session:
Steiner said that the work session was “one last opportunity to talk about this together.”
— The board agreed that no matter what re-branding looks like moving forward that there is no need for a physical mascot. Therefore, students will not dress up in gear to portray a character. “We don’t have a mascot, we don’t need a mascot, we don’t want a mascot,” said board vice president Jon Guizar.
— Board member Donna Smith brought up the fact that Bellefonte’s block “B” is used by another district in the state. “Something that I just saw yesterday … another school district’s use of the same B that we have. I happened upon this when I was watching television,” Smith said. Bellefonte’s block “B” is not under any form of copyright, which means other districts in Pennsylvania — and beyond — can use the font.
— Board member Jack Bechdel questioned where some of the Red Raider items are located. “What’s happened to the imagery that has been removed? Where is it? Is it in closet somewhere,” he asked. Superintendent Tammie Burnaford said that some of the items, such as the wood-carved indian that sat outside the gymnasium has been “locked away in a closet,” while others have simply been replaced by items with the block B. Burnaford noted that the scoreboard panels and trophies with Native American imagery have not been removed yet.
— For the first time, a board member spoke about flipping the district’s nickname back to Red Raiders. “I honestly think that both of those prior motions need to be rescinded. You reset the process and being the branding without restrictions and you see where the process takes you,” Guizar said. — The district’s director of fiscal affairs, Ken Bean, said that he will need a decision from the board soon. “Not to prolong this, but I do need something to relieve us of re-doing the gym floor and those type of things. They have to be started soon. So, I do need something from the board if that’s the way (you) want to move to release us from doing (it),” Bean said. According to Bean, the work would be done over the summer months, so they would need to start acquiring bids very soon.
Board member Mark Badger was absent from the work session. There was no public comment during Tuesday night’s work session. The Bellefonte school board will meet for its first regular meeting of 2022 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at the Bellefonte Area Middle School cafeteria. The meeting is open to the public and will also be streamed live via Zoom through the district’s website.
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