SKOWHEGAN — About a year after school officials here voted to “respectfully retire” the controversial “Indians” mascot, they’ve received more than 1,600 suggestions for a new sports team nickname and have now whittled those possibilities down to 305.

School Administrative District 54 administrators said Thursday night that they are now moving into the next phase of the nickname and mascot selection process.

Assistant Superintendent Jon Moody told board directors Thursday that 1,627 suggestion forms were received, with 1,422 coming through an online portal and 75 delivered as hard copies.  Because some forms had multiple suggestions, Moody said, the total number of forms differed from the total number of submissions.

Jon Moody is assistant superintendent of Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54. Morning Sentinel file photo 

“The math doesn’t match the entries (for that reason),” Moody said. “Some (of the suggestions) make you smile. We are just beginning to sit down with administrators going over them.”

The “official” mascot selection process began Jan. 15 with suggestion forms available online and on paper, and the portal was closed on Feb. 24. The process of soliciting ideas for a new team name is the start of a multi-step process introduced by the SAD 54 board last fall after the “Indians” nickname was retired last March.

The next step is for the administrative staff to go through the suggestions and filter out those that are inconsistent with district standards and policies.

After the Support Services Committee and the Education Policy and Programming Committee review the suggestions, each committee is expected to bring forward five options for consideration.

SAD 54 Superintendent Brent Colbry suggested each committee designate time at upcoming meetings to go through the suggestions as they also begin work on the upcoming budget proposal.

Brent Colbry is superintendent of Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54. Morning Sentinel file photo

Once the suggestions are trimmed to five from each committee, the proposals will be shared with students in grades six through 12, who will be asked to provide feedback.

After that, the two committees will reconvene to review the feedback and make final recommendations to the SAD 54 board, which will then vote on the finalists.

There is no timeline for when the nickname and mascot selection process must be completed.

Colbry said if a new nickname/mascot is selected, it would be implemented for the 2020-21 school year.

In other matters, Moody told the board the school district is searching for substitute teachers. Those interested should contact Moody at the SAD 54 administrative office.

SAD 54 includes Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Smithfield.

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