CT towns could lose millions in funding for schools using Native American mascots

Towns with public schools using Native American mascots could lose their share of casinos’ slot money under a new bill implementing the state budget, which the state Senate passed Tuesday night in a 23-7 vote along party lines.

News 12 Staff

Jun 15, 2021, 3:12 PM

Updated 1,073 days ago

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Towns with public schools using Native American mascots could lose their share of casinos’ slot money under a new bill implementing the state budget, which the state Senate passed Tuesday night in a 23-7 vote along party lines.
The state is pushing for an end to tribal mascots. Towns would have two years to drop the mascot or get written permission from Connecticut’s tribes to use the name.
Up to 11 schools are potentially affected by the rule.
Wamogo Regional High School could be affected. If Wamogo doesn't agree to drop its "Warriors" school mascot, the towns of Morris, Warren, and Goshen could altogether lose $12,000 in revenue from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos.
Other towns with Native American mascots, imagery and names that could lose funding include Torrington, Derby, and Wilton. Wilton, however, explains that its "Warriors" refers to Greek mythology.
But state Sen. Cathy Osten (D – Sprague), who added the budget language, calls the nicknames and mascots "horribly offensive" and says,
"Towns around this state have been told year after year by Connecticut's Native American tribes that their nicknames and mascots are horribly offensive. Some towns have taken the proper steps to change, while others continue to ignore common decency and continue to disrespect our tribal partners who were here long, long before any city or town was ever incorporated."
Osten, who is Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee, added "If certain cities and towns won't listen to their fellow citizens, then they can certainly do without the tribal money that they are showing such disrespect toward."
The mascot rule is all part of a massive state budget bill that was posted just hours before lawmakers voted on it and lays out a road map for how the budget approved last week actually gets spent.
The budget implementer includes several tax cuts. An admissions tax at entertainment venues would be eliminated as of July 1. Breastfeeding supplies would now be except from sales tax. There’s also a cut in the excise tax for beer. Companies could claim a bigger research and development tax credit, while working poor families could claim a bigger Earned Income Tax Credit.
The bill also bans flavored vape products, but still allows menthol cigarettes.
The budget also includes guaranteed admission for students to state colleges like WestConn. Students with good grades will not need an essay or an application fee.
Also included is a ban on graduation fees for all students, two hours off of work on Election Day for voters, an assistance fund for lost wages for workers who caught COVID-19, and free phone calls of up to 90 minutes a day for inmates.
Also in the budget: speed cameras are back just weeks after lawmakers dismissed the controversial idea. The budget includes a pilot program for highway work zones.
Senators also voted on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. After that, both bills go to the Connecticut House of Representatives on Wednesday.


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