Montrose residents interested in contributing to a new mascot will be able to apply to join one of two subcommittees when applications open on Friday, district spokesperson Matt Jenkins announced at the Oct. 12, 2021 school board meeting.
The applications will be open until Oct. 25, when an executive committee will review applicants and craft sub-committees, one each for Centennial Middle School and Montrose High School.
“We want to make sure those committees are as big as they need to be. We can't do this with 1000 people in the room — it just can't happen,” Jenkins said. “But we do feel like we can get a robust committee of current students, alumni, current or former teachers, current or former coaches, athletes, activity participants, band, choir, grandparents, parents: we want every single stakeholder we can get in this process.”
The applications consist of a few questions, including the affiliation with the district, why an individual is interested in participating on the sub-committee and any experiences that are relevant to the topic.
Jenkins said that the executive committee, which consists of himself, MHS Principal Jim Barnhill, Centennial Principal Joe Simo, Executive Director of Operations Jim Pavlich and Superintendent Carrie Stephenson, would like to have a representational sample of a variety of community stakeholders on the committee, from current students to coaches.
Both subcommittees will be led by the school principals and meet at least twice ahead of the Dec. 14 school board meeting when the board members will vote to approve the new mascots.
The mascot change is necessitated by a bill signed into law over the summer that bans Native American mascots in Colorado public schools. Approximately two dozen schools around the state, including two in Montrose, have until June 1, 2022 to remove the mascot or face a $25,000 monthly fine.
The district has already identified the necessary changes, defined the timeline and assessed an approximate budget for the improvements. The internal assessment found that the cost of fully replacing the mascot anew could cost up to $900,000 for both schools.
While the physical changes need to commence before early January, a source of funding for the swap has not yet been determined. Funding through the governor’s office could come to fruition, but Jenkins said at the meeting that they have not heard yet from the capitol about next steps.
Board member Sarah Fishering added that this decision has already been made and that the best course of action is to move forward.
“If the community wanted to really fight this idea, the place to be would have been in Denver when these decisions were being made — not here,” Fishering said. “So, now we have to just move forward and come up with some great new mascots that will pull our community behind us and get everybody on board.”
Applications to join the subcommittees will be available on mcsd.org starting on Friday, Oct. 15.