Board wants sports programs hosted at all the high schools

Some of the discussion didn’t match the written parts of the Warren County School District proposed sports consolidation plan.

The plan calls for some sports programs to be hosted at each of Warren County School District’s four high schools. That was the selling point for some board members.

Those members do not want to wait until programs are forced to shut down and, eventually, all sports are hosted by Warren Area High School. With all the district’s schools losing population, the biggest school’s programs should last the longest.

“We could just let it ride,” board member Joe Colosimo said. “We’re going to end up with co-ops anyway. Nine chances out of 10, that’s going to be someone coming into Warren.”

“The outlying schools are going to have less opportunities to host,” he said. “If we look at it now, we’ll be able to maintain athletics throughout all the schools.”

“I really dislike taking away opportunities for kids,” board member Marcy Morgan said. “But I don’t think everything should be at Warren, either.”

The board members favored a plan — Model B — based loosely on a sports consolidation of Ridgway and Johnsonburg schools. In the model, the hosts differ by seasons. In the fall, the consolidated Youngsville and Sheffield sports would be hosted by Eisenhower and Warren, respectively. In the winter, Youngsville and Sheffield would host. Then, in the spring, sports would be back at Eisenhower and Warren.

The sports involved in that plan include football, cross country, competitive cheer, wrestling, softball, and baseball.

Existing co-ops in those programs would take precedence, so Youngsville football would continue to be part of Warren football, Sheffield cross country and baseball already co-op with Warren, and the Sheffield-Abraxas co-ops in football, wrestling, and softball continue.

So, Sheffield and Warren aren’t likely to feel the effects of the plan until and unless the Abraxas co-ops are dissolved.

Under the proposal, as it is written, Youngsville’s cross country, baseball, and softball teams would become part of the Eisenhower teams and the Eisenhower wrestling would become part of the Youngsville program.

But that’s not how the discussion went.

“If you look at the numbers, it just doesn’t make sense,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said.

For wrestling, there were 44 students in the middle and high school programs at Warren and 22, including students from the Abraxas co-op. “We’re questioning the ability of Sheffield’s facility” to handle that many students, Stewart said. But Warren and Sheffield won’t be in a wrestling co-op as long as the Abraxas co-op holds up.

“Wrestling in Youngsville, the numbers are backwards there, as well,” she said. “Eisenhower is the larger program and the stronger program in terms of numbers.”

“There’s a problem with the model, just pushing the winter sports in that direction,” Stewart said.

The committee moved along the Model B proposal with the understanding that it could be modified prior to approval. A sports co-op plan is included in the tentative budget cuts for 2018-2019 with an associated estimated savings of $100,000.