Editors note — this story ran online at www.tetonvalleynews.net. The school board will have met on Tuesday, July 16 after Teton Valley News deadline. Please find an updated story online for more on the board’s decision.
In a press release issued today, Friday, July 12, the Teton County School District said that the issue of whether to keep or change the Teton High School mascot cannot be decided with an election ballot.
“Neither the school board nor the public can ask to have the question of keeping or changing the Teton High mascot put on November’s ballot, according to Dorothy Canary, Elections Compliance Specialist for the Secretary of State’s office in Boise,” read the district press release.
“The election process is for electing school board trustees and bonds and levies, so unfortunately they would not be able to put the question about the school mascot on the ballot,” Canary wrote in response to an email from Teton County staff.
She clarified by phone that “they” in her email would mean either the Teton School District 401 Board of Trustees or if a request for adding it onto the ballot came from local citizenry.
Staff from the office of Teton County Clerk Kim Keeley reached out to the Secretary of State’s office after discussion arose about that possibility following Monday’s TSD school board meeting.
Using a ballot to decide the mascot issue is among one of the ideas that have been floated online to “save the mascot” ahead of Tuesday’s working session with the Teton School District.
In addition to placing a mascot decision on a ballot, members of the “Save the Redskins,” social media group have been in discussion looking to recall school board members as well as weighing out the idea of filing a lawsuit should the mascot get a majority vote by the board to change.
Keeley said on Friday that she has received inquiries on how to recall school board members from their positions. She said she has also received a healthy amount of calls from residents asking how they could run for a school board position. There are three seats up for re-election this fall: those of board members Chris Isaacson, Mary Mello and Nan Pugh.
Members of the Save the Redskin closed Facebook page have also asked how Tuesday’s vote on the mascot could be delayed until after November’s election in an effort to have all five school board members voted-in rather than appointed.
Mello was appointed to the board in 2018 after elected school board member Shelly Streit resigned due to a conflict of interest. In 2018, elected school board member Delwyn Jensen resigned due to a conflict of interest when his wife took a position with the district. School board member Jake Kunz was then appointed to fill his position.