This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An email from a Sioux Falls School District public relations member provided clarification for the proposed budget and what it means for powerlifting. You can read the email below.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been two weeks since many parents, gymnasts and other supporters of gymnastics in Sioux Falls filled the school board meeting room to express concerns over the sport being cut from the budget.
In next year’s proposed budget it says “Elimination of gymnastics removes the opportunity for approximately 40 high school and middle school students to participate in gymnastics.”
When it comes to powerlifting, it says eliminating the activity from the budget would require it to be paid for through “the high school trust and agency accounts or be eliminated.”
In an email from a Sioux Falls School District public relations member just before KELOLAND News at 10 Monday night, they clarified more about the budget – specifically powerlifting:
“There is no recommendation to eliminate powerlifting. In previous years, it was paid for through fundraise dollars. Last year, it was paid for out of the COVID relief money. The recommendation for this next year is that it go back to being paid for by fundraising. The recommendation for powerlifting is NOT the same as the recommendation for gymnastics,” the email wrote.
Below is the orginal story as it aired in KELOLAND News at 6 Monday evening before we received clarification:
Bree Koepke is a junior at Jefferson High School. She is in both gymnastics and powerlifting.
“These two sports have helped me make friends. It’s given me something to do other than just school, and right now, this is literally my life as a teenager. Sports are why I wake up every morning and go to school,” Koepke said.
Koepke has known about the possibility of gymnastics being cut for awhile, but she did not know powerlifting is also listed in the proposed budget.
“Powerlifting has helped me in track and gymnastics. It’s made me a lot stronger these past few years, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to do the sports I’ve been doing. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be as strong and be able to do as many skills as I can right now,” Koepke said.
Aubrey Whittington is a Jefferson sophomore who also does gymnastics and powerlifting.
“I lift with my dad, and it’s been a thing since I’ve been young to lift. It’s fun to push myself. If I got one PR, and go based off of that and try to do better than that, and try to support other people,” Whittington said.
Whittington says if the funding doesn’t come from the district or those other sources, it would take away opportunities from a lot of students.
“I don’t know what I would do without the two sports. I would obviously keep lifting. I don’t know if I would go back to club gymnastics or not, but it would be a lot of things that would get taken away from me. A lot of school activities,” Whittington said.