Slater, Beephan Blast State Education Department For Renaming Mascots at Mahopac and Ketcham School Districts; Call for Proper Funding
Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) and Assemblyman Anil Beephan, Jr. (R,C-East Fishkill) recently wrote a letter to the New York state Department of Education about its decision to rename the mascots and logos of both Mahopac and Ketcham School Districts. The mascots and logos that represent these two schools are “Indians”, which the state Education Department has deemed inappropriate and has threatened to withhold funding for their use.
“The state Education Department has taken a heavy-handed approach to what should be a local decision-making process,” Slater said. “It is a complete overreach by the department. This change should be decided by the school board and the constituents who reside in these communities. They are the most knowledgeable about each school’s history and what mascot or logo would be best for their future success. Most importantly, the cost for the rebranding of the logos and mascots is being forced on the schools. If the state wishes to get involved with this issue, it should pay for the rebranding.”
The state Education Department plans to enforce this change on June 30, with full implementation of the new logo and mascot beginning in 2025. The cost of the rebrand would fall completely on the schools with no outside assistance from the state. This would put the cost of the change entirely on the school district’s budget.
"While I do not support the state Education Department’s will to eliminate historical imagery, I am even further concerned that it was done unilaterally without the consent of those elected to make these decisions," Beephan said. "As a former local official who believes in empowering local decisions, I hope the state is prepared to pay for these changes if it is going to supersede the will of our localities.”
CLICK HERE to view the full letter sent by Slater and Beephan.