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It’s ashes to ashes for School Board’s choice of mascot / July 17, 2019

The Phoenix rises, the Phoenix falls.

That’s the apparent result of a Mecklenburg County School Board vote Monday night to choose a mascot for the new Mecklenburg County High School. Trustees held a vote in which three members backed the mythological bird for school mascot, two trustees voted “no,” and two abstained.

The problem, according to School Board attorney Brad King, is that a majority of a board quorum — four votes — is required for a motion to pass. With only three votes in favor of the Phoenix, the would-be mascot’s life at MCHS will require a follow-up vote.

With trustees Glenn Edwards and Rob Campbell absent from the monthly meeting, only Kenny Johnson, chairman Dale Sturdifen and vice chairman Gavin Honeycutt voted in favor of Phoenix as the school mascot. Dora Garner and Wanda Bailey opposed the idea, and Brent Richey and Lindell Palmer abstained.

Other options under consideration for mascot were the Mavericks and the Mudcats. The three options were initially selected by students.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols said the final survey of parents and students resulted in the Phoenix receiving 734 votes. Mavericks received 549 votes and Mudcats garnered 638 votes. This was the fourth in a series of surveys that began in March in which parents, students and community members were asked to select a mascot.

Richey, saying he would not belabor the point, questioned whether any vote count would accurately reflected the views of the public and students since not every mascot choice was included in every survey from which votes were tallied. Nichols also wondered whether students, who are on summer break, were actively engaged in the final selection process.

In a previous survey in which mostly adult members of the public participated, Mudcats received 635 votes, Mavericks got 223 votes and Phoenix 116 votes. Nichols said only nine students participated in that survey.

In two earlier surveys of students, the vote results were mixed. Phoenix won out in a survey where the highest participation came from lower school students, but Mavericks was preferred in a survey where the majority of votes was cast by upper school students.

School Board members had deferred their decision on the mascot from last month after Richey had asked for the public survey to be reopened, and Bailey asked to see a breakdown of votes from earlier surveys, separated by lower school, upper school and public.

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If you are not going to go with what the public voted for, why even let the public vote. Sounds like a few spoiled brats not getting their way.

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