SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Thanks to a court ruling, the gymnastics program in the Sioux Falls School District will get at least another year. The athletes have six weeks to prepare for the season’s first competition.
A judge has granted a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit against the Sioux Falls School District for eliminating the gymnastics program.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kornamn says he weighed the arguments from both gymnasts and their parents and the Sioux Falls School District and found the gymnasts “have shown they will suffer the irreparable harm of not participating in gymnastics and possibly suffering a Title IX violation.” That means Sioux Falls gymnasts will compete in the upcoming season.
It all started on April 25 of this year when the school board adopted a proposed budget eliminating the gymnastics program. The district pointed to a decrease in participation, the inability to find and retain coaches, the financial burden of the $76,000 in funding, difficulty scheduling busing, and a high interest in other sports.
Since 2008, the school district has added five female sports: competitive cheer, competitive dance, soccer, wrestling, and softball.
But in the court documents, the judge found the parents “possess at least a fair chance of succeeding on their title nine claims.” Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.
The judge also wrote, “The court finds the plaintiffs have presented enough to show a strong interest in gymnastics, and the District acted counter to the interests of students when they eliminated the gymnastic program.”
The ruling says the district can’t sell equipment and must have gymnastics as a sport this winter as the case makes its way through federal court. We reached out to the Sioux Falls School District to see how they intend to keep the gymnastics program going this year under the court order.
We have not heard back from them. The gymnastics season in South Dakota begins on November 27th, practice begins October 30th. Besides Sioux Falls, 24 Schools currently support gymnastics programs in the state.