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New year, new mascot

Hurley to rebrand start of 2019-20 school year


January 22, 2019


HurleyMidgets no more.

The Hurley School Board voted Monday evening to remove the Midgets as the school mascot and directed the administration to rebrand the school by the beginning of next school year.

The board had decided a few months ago to place a binding referendum on the April ballot, but that won’t happen now.

School board president Joe Simonich began the discussion saying Tuesday (today) was the last day to remove something from the ballot and wondered if the board shouldn’t discuss its options.

Board member Maria Sokol said its been a very divisive issue and people have strong opinions both ways, adding she didn’t feel comfortable not acting on it as a board.

She made a motion to rescind the former resolution for the binding referendum. That passed without objection.

So, there was to be no vote of the people on the issue, but what of the Midgets?

Simonich invited the few members of the public in attendance to share their opinions.

Bill Ceccon of Hurley, asked if there could be an advisory referendum on the ballot instead.

Simonich said that would be an option.

A couple other members of the audience said they thought it was time to change the mascot.

Simonich said over 20-some years the district had heard a couple threats about suing the district to change the mascot, but those suits hadn’t gone anywhere. He also said they heard from the Little People of America, calling the term “midget” derogatory and discriminatory.

He added the mascot name dates back to the 1920s.

Finally, Sokol made another motion, to discontinue the use of the Midget mascot at the end of the school year and direct administration to rebrand the district by beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Again, the motion passed without dissent.

In other action:

—Simonich began the meeting by offering a moment of silence in honor Michael Fauerbach who died recently. Fauerbach was a friend of the school district and heavily involved in the Hurley Educaiton Foundation.

The board approved the school calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. The first day of school will be Tuesday, Sept. 3, the day after Labor Day. There will be just three days off the week of Thanksgiving — Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 27-29 — instead of the normal full week off.

—School administrator Chris Patritto said he is hopeful the new governor’s budget will favorable to state aid to education.

—Assistant Superintendent Kevin Genisot said the district had applied for an $80,000 grant to help fund Kids Club and other after school programs. The district hopes to hear in May about the grant.


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