BASD holds working session on its re-branding efforts | News, Sports, Jobs


BELLEFONTE – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

During Tuesday night’s Bellefonte School Board working session, which lasted two and a half hours, the board heard members of the public talk about the district’s rebranding efforts as it attempts to move from Red Raiders to simply Raiders. The public comments lasted approximately an hour and the remaining 90 minutes of the working session were devoted to school board members as well as Superintendent Tammie Burnaford providing their thoughts on the matter.

In the end, no action was taken and nothing was resolved.

Although the board of directors has already approved the nickname change earlier this year, several members of the public have called for the Red Raiders name to be reinstated. In accordance with council policy, they did not respond to questions from the public.

The working session began with an update from Burnaford, who spoke about removing items with Native American imagery.

“We took out the easy stuff, so to speak. We had talked about keeping the art and the awards, so the art and the awards are still there… in the gyms there are banners hanging with Native American images in the lower corner. There are trophies that have Native American images that are also still in the trophy cases ”, Burnaford said.

Burnaford said the “easy and cheap things” have already been deleted.

However, big-ticket items like gym floors and wrestling mats still have Native American imagery. These will be replaced as they wear out, Burnaford said.

“We did a cost analysis of what needs to be done. Gyms are probably the biggest tickets. They are both in high school ”, Burnaford said.

The Main Gymnasium and Auxiliary Gymnasium both feature Native American imagery on center court. It is believed that the rebranding efforts will cost the district over $ 100,000 when all completed. This figure includes gymnasium floors, wrestling mats, signage and repainting in all buildings in the neighborhood.

The rock in front of the school that says “House of the Red Raiders” has not been deleted to date.

“We haven’t done it yet. It takes a backhoe and a lot of labor to remove ”, Burnaford explained.

The composition of the board of directors has changed in recent months. Rodney Musser, who led the change, lost his seat in the November 2 general election. Former board member Kristen Bruckner did not run for office and Max Kroell resigned from the board to continue his education. the “Win4Bellefonte” ticket sailed to an easy win in the fall. Board Chairman Jeff Steiner and Vice Chairman Jon Guizar were re-elected, along with newcomers Jack Bechdel and Andrea Royer.

The four made their presence known on Tuesday evening. Bechdel was the first to speak and he expressed his displeasure with the rebranding efforts.

“I can’t figure out where the iron comes from for Iron Raiders” Bechdel said, “Because Bellefonte is not known for iron. It is known for limestone.

So far, potential options include the “Iron adventurers”, or representations of looters as knights or hawks. These ideas came after months of work by the logo / mascot rebranding committee. These ideas were presented to the school board by Burnaford on November 3, prior to the board reorganization.

Guizar said that as the district moved forward, the board should reconsider all options.

“It kind of took a life of its own and became forced… we’re at one of the lowest levels of government and we’re directly connected to our community and our school district… (this) should give us all a pause, to take a few steps back, start the process over and move it forward ”, Guizar said.

At first glance, it appears the board has the necessary votes to steer rebranding efforts in whatever direction they choose. Royer, who was not on the board when the changes took place, said she didn’t like the fact that the word red had been removed from the Red Raiders’ nickname.

“It’s just a color and it does not denote the color of the skin”, Royer said in a neutral tone.

Board member Donna Smith, who voted for the change earlier this year, has spoken of moving forward into 2022.

“I hope we can find some common ground in our efforts to move forward, and that also seemed to be the sentiment of the board.” Smith said.

After the working session, Steiner said he felt the meeting “Was productive and informative”.

The Bellefonte School Board will meet for its first meeting in 2022 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4. The meeting will be held in the cafeteria of Bellefonte Area Middle School. The meeting will also be webcast live via Zoom on the district website. Those who wish to speak virtually must register in advance.

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