MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed budget includes $400,000 to help local school districts that still have race-based mascots transition to another nickname.
In Wisconsin, officials say more than two dozen schools still have Native American mascots.
Central High School recently changed its mascot from Red Raiders to the Riverhawks.
The proposal would create a program that would help schools with the process through grants.
“We are in a period in time, not just here in the state but across the country, where there is a reconciliation around issues of race,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. “And for too long, our tribal communities, our native nations have been marginalized.”
The Weyauwega-Fremont School District stopped using the nickname “Indians” internally years ago, and phased out its headdress logo. But it wasn’t until 2020 that the district’s board of education voted to officially retire the mascot.
And according to District Administrator Phillip Tubbs, the transition was a long road. He hopes the district might be eligible for funding if the measure makes it into the budget.
The Weyauwega-Fremont Board of Education approved the name change to “Warhawks” last month.
The budget is now in the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature, which will rework it before passing its own version this summer.