Why rebranding the Hays High School mascot can cost up to $800,000 

By Sahar Chmais

HAYS CISD — Community members are split between whether $800,000 is a little too high or not high enough to rebrand the Hays High School Rebel mascot.

Students are still cooking up a replacement mascot for the Rebel, but Hays CISD has calculated the costs of ushering in the new mascot.

It will cost approximately $350,000 for athletic replacement needs and a little less than $175,000 for fine arts.  The rest of the funding will go to replacing the school’s front entrance marquee, murals, banners and signage not associated with athletics or fine arts.

Gen Martinez, Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch reader, commented on Facebook about the cost being too high; “If the cost will be paid for by taxpayers then the community should have input on a new name not just current students. I agree the cost to rename is too high and could be used to pay teachers.”

Many comments include woes of what rebranding will do to tax dollars. But  not all spectators were unhappy with renaming the mascot.

“This is great,” commented Jeremiah W. Rios, another Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch reader. “A step towards replacing the racism of the past is long overdue.”

The $800,000 amount is a high-end estimate accounting for any contingencies, said Tim Savoy, HCISD’s chief communication officer.

“Our hope is that we will not actually end up having to spend that much,” Savoy said. “Of the known $525,339.20 that we have identified between fine arts and athletics, the bulk of those expenses involve uniform replacements. These uniform replacement expenses would eventually be necessary whether the mascot changed or not. We typically replace student uniforms on rotation schedules that range from about 3 to 7 years, sometimes longer depending on use.”

Uniform replacement schedules are spread out over multiple years. The district will have to absorb the entire set of expenses in a single budget year until they can spread out uniform schedules again, Savoy explained.

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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