A co-op agreement that would merge the Central High School gymnastics team with the Kenosha Combined team starting with the 2014-15 season was approved the Kenosha Unified School District board Tuesday night.
Two board members voted against the agreement.
The Central School Board approved the agreement in April of 2013.
The Kenosha board also unanimously approved a new co-op agreement bringing Central into the existing Kenosha Unified-Wilmot co-op for hockey.
During citizens comments Dustin Beth of the The Trievad Group said he was speaking for Central gymnasts, coaches and parents. Beth also has a sister who is a member of the team and is a candidate this April for the Paris seat on the Central School Board. He asked the board to defer a decision on the co-op agreement until the Kenosha board’s March meeting, to give Central more time to communicate with the gymnastics constituency.
Kenosha board member Tamarra Coleman moved to defer the decision, saying she had heard from Central parents who complained about that district’s communication on the issue. But that motion failed, after Steven Knecht, Kenosha Unified coordinator of Athletics/Physical Education, explained that deferring to April would rule out a co-op for the 2014-15 season since all such agreement are due to the WIAA by April 1.
Not approving the co-op could completely eliminate Central girls having any gymnastics team to compete on next season, Knecht said. If Kenosha approved the co-op, Central could still back out before April 1 but that would be easier than trying to get the co-op approved after a late March meeting.
“We’re going to have gymnastics no matter what,” Knecht said.
Knecht said the co-op agreement would help bolster the Kenosha program’s participation numbers and help cut costs, because expenses would be shared with Central. Kenosha’s team has had as few as seven members in recent years.
“They passed this in April (2013),” Knecht said. Their board passed this unanimously. “It’s in our hands to pass it.”
Last week, the Central School Board asked district administrator Scott Pierce, principal Lisa Albrecht and athletic director Jonathon Lindh to meet with the Central gymnastics supporters again about any possible ways to keep the program housed at Central and report back to the board.
Central officials have said they need the space that the gymnastics team occupies for instructional purposes. A gymnastics club operated by coach Bill Price virtually year round without paying rent to the district occupies the space during the gymnastics off season.