November 28, 2014

Cooperative sports talks continue between AuGres-Sims, Arenac Eastern

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AuGRES — Superintendents from the AuGres-Sims and Arenac Eastern school districts were joined by board presidents and an MHSAA representative Wednesday as discussions about consolidating the districts’ sports programs picked up.

“Basically, it was just an opening meeting to see what the requirements of the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletics Association) are and to open up a dialog between the two board presidents,” said AE Interim Superintendent Patrick Bootz.

“We talked with Gina Mazzolini (MHSAA) to gain a better understanding of timelines,” added AGS Superintendent Anne Doriean. “As a result, we agreed to meet again for the purpose of discussing which sports teams we might want to consider for consolidation.”

According to Bootz, the MHSAA allows schools to consolidate athletics for two reasons – increased participation and safety.

“When numbers get so low and schools have to start filling spaces (on varsity teams) with ninth and tenth graders … they’re not really safe,” he said.

Doriean also said safety and participation were top priorities, and added that financial benefits, often in the spotlight due to the current problems with school funding in Michigan.

“We don’t anticipate saving much money if we cooperated,” Bootz added.

While the talks are just beginning, the superintendents are aware of the timelines laid out by the MHSAA for a decision to be made.

“If you decided to cooperate in a fall sport, you would have to have a letter of intent to cooperate by April 15,” Bootz said. “Both board presidents, superintendents and athletic directors would have to sign off on it.”

The deadlines for winter and spring sports cooperatives are Aug. 15 and Oct. 15, respectively.

The Nov. 11 meeting was held in AuGres.

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