WCSD offers co-op for middle school programs with low numbers

Three Warren County School District middle school athletics programs that fell short of registration requirements will be offered through a co-op.

Only three students at Youngsville Middle School signed up for football and four for cheerleading. At Eisenhower Middle School, only four signed up for girls basketball.

Those programs will not be offered this year.

However, students who want to participate will be able to through cooperative agreements with Beaty-Warren Middle School. Beaty has enough students to hold each program and will add any students from those other schools’ programs.

A formal cooperative agreement is not something the district must offer for middle school according to PIAA regulations, District-Wide Supervisor of Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Rick Gignac said.

The rationale for moving football and cheer to Beaty was the current agreement between the western and central attendance areas for varsity football, Gignac said.

Board member Marcy Morgan asked if the district had considered moving Eisenhower basketball to Youngsville.

Gignac said that move was considered and the Beaty option was selected.

“We’ve had students requesting both,” Director of Administrative Support Services Gary Weber said.

The district is looking into how to transport the interested students. “We have to look at busing as far as what’s available,” Weber said.

“We’re looking at two kids from Eisenhower,” Gignac said.

The loss of middle school programs was a concern for board members.

“If you’re cutting off your middle school, you’re cutting off your varsity,” Morgan said.

Board member Jeff Labesky asked if the programs could be reinstated next year if they met the registration requirement, or if the programs were permanently cut.

Administration said they could be reinstated.

Labesky then asked if that could “flip-flop” every year.

“We have some options,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”

The cooperative agreements will ensure that “the ramifications of Title IX will not apply,” board member Paul Mangione said.

The cuts are a result of the district’s online registration program and the associated rules the board put into effect to go with it.

If the registration deadline passes and there are not enough students registered to meet the required number, there will not be a team. With that procedure in effect, there is renewed interest in considering a proactive cooperative agreement plan that would determine what happens when programs fall short.

“People are talking about doing a co-op plan again,” Stewart said. “We’re talking about putting a bigger plan back in place. We need to have a definitive plan.”