One of the recommendations made by a budget committee made up of administrators, principals, teachers, parents and community members, is to cut gymnastics.
There were two meetings Monday with the school board — one was a budget work session, the other their regular meeting. Gymnastics was discussed at both.
At the budget work session, school board members had a lot of questions, including the participation decline in gymnastics.
This year, 44 students from 10 schools – six middle schools and four high schools – were involved in gymnastics across the district.
“They look at where there’s the give and take. What areas have not been utilized? And then what the participation rate is going through out. And we continue to try to look to see what are the best ways we can utilize those dollars to keep the students involved,” Nold said.
A complaint from gymnastics supporters is the lack of communication from the district.
Assistant Superintendent James Nold says they looked at how to increase gymnastics participation last year, which included meetings with coaches and parents. He says partnering with club gymnastics was once agreed upon but later fell through.
“Obviously, they love the sport and are involved in it, so that makes it the hard part of the decision-making process, but overall with the school district, it was a sport that’s significantly in decline, and that information was shared at that parent meeting at that point in time,” Nold said.
The Sioux Falls School District currently has a total of 16 female sports and 12 male sports.
Superintendent Jane Stavem says they made some adjustments so gymnastics could happen this year, but adds that they don’t see that the “long-term picture is probably as healthy as it needs to be to think about long-term costs.”
“So that’s hard, and we understand that, and that’s hard when we think about, then how do we make sure we have other offerings that kids can participate in? Typically, we’re in the business of adding and not subtracting,” Stavem said.
Parent Eric Van Beek says they just want more time to have conversations.
“We are here to help. We can raise funds, we can work on numbers, we can do all of these things. We have a plan in place,” he said.
Van Beek says it feels like the goal post is moving.
“It feels like there’s a solution looking for problems at this point. Like we are here to help whatever problem you have, and we will work with you guys,” he said.
Parent Bobbie Tibbetts also spoke in front of the board tonight and says they want more time for a plan before a budget cut is made.
“We’ll do what we need to do to reach the participation targets that you and administration want to see, and if it’s about funding, we will raise funds,” Tibbetts said.
According to a school district representative, they say the board plans to tentatively adopt the budget April 24 with final adoption on July 10.