Should MHS end its gymnastics program?

From a story published in today’s Daily Republic:

The 2010 state meet, which concluded Saturday, may have been the last for the Mitchell High School gymnastics team.

Two days after the meet came to an end, gymnasts and their parents and coaches met with Superintendent Joe Graves to discuss the future of the MHS gymnastics program.

Graves on Tuesday presented those in attendance at a meeting with a plan to eliminate gymnastics as a school-sanctioned sport effective for the 2010-11 school year and use the funds freed up from the discontinuation of gymnastics to add competitive cheer and dance at MHS. Cheer and dance are considered two separate sports.

Click here to read the rest.

What do you think of this idea?

38 thoughts on “Should MHS end its gymnastics program?

  1. Why should we stop at gymnastics? And why pick on them? Agreed there are a couple new sports coming, so why not make them like baseball, softball and such? If this is a cost saving plan then lets do the same for choir, FFA, and other no sporting type organizations. It seems like an old issue but Graves needs to go.

  2. What do I think of this idea? You asked and I will tell you. First of all the Mitchell School District needs a superintendent and not a dictator. Why were the parents, gymnasts and coaches “shocked” at Graves secret decision? It may be that Graves never discussed this proposal publicly.

    Graves “clutters up” TDR with useless garbage every two weeks during the school year. Does TDR pay Graves for this drivel? As long as Graves is by contract required to spend 100% of his time administering the school according to the policies of the elected School Board, should not some of his time and space in the TDR inform the taxpaying public and school board members of his impending plans?

    The answer is NO! Graves dictates and the board just votes YES to every fool idea he puts on the agenda. Wait, Board Member Putnam did cast a lonely NO vote on the serving of alcohol in public school buildings.

    Will the future committee meet after the next school board meeting? If there are 5 YES votes to eliminate gymnastics at the public school why would not Graves come to the gymnastics meeting with an “open mind”? Graves would again say “It’s a done deal”. Graves would not object to the gymnasts having a space in the Old Home Bread building.

    Lest we forget the opt-out was passed to keep current programs. Taxpayers have paid and will pay that tax. Graves will use more of the opt-out to make up what the state does not appropriate this and future years. Taxpayer dollars will be spent on a football stadium where Mitchell will continue to lose football games.Yet swimming and the pool were dumped now it is gymnastics. What is next? Perhjaps it will be debate, not because there are only a few in it but Graves might be threatened if anyone dares to challenge his almighty authority and infalible wisdom.

  3. cb,

    You asked why gymnastics is being singled out. In the interest of making sure everybody has full information, I’ll highlight the following portion of today’s news story, which explains the logic behind the move (whether you agree with the logic or not, I want to make sure you’re aware of it).

    In an outline of Graves’ plan to eliminate gymnastics, he explained that gymnastics is the “logical choice” to eliminate for several reasons.

    “First, since we are adding what are considered by the SDHSAA girls’ sports, it is logical to delete a girls’ sport,” the outline states. “Second, gymnastics is a relatively expensive sport. Thus, by cutting this one sport, we can add two others. Third, gymnastics as a sport in South Dakota is somewhat on the wane.”

    The outline goes on to explain how several of the 16 Class AA schools Mitchell typically competes with have dropped gymnastics, including Douglas, Spearfish, Sturgis and Brandon Valley. Rapid City has a shared coach and facility for Central and Stevens high schools.

    Graves said there is never a good time to drop a sport, but now would be the right time for gymnastics, which is two years removed from back-to-back Class AA titles. Of the 13 gymnasts on this year’s roster, eight were seventh-graders and one was an eighth-grader.

  4. So the youth that are coming up to compete and based on past performance at MHS are now being sent packing for “competitive dance and something else”??? We have a competitive dance program outside of MHS so why not let them absorb that sport. I’m sorry I can’t remember the other sport probably because I was fuming over HIS decision. If expense is an issue then why not cut football? between a new stadium, and uniforms and stuff, plus their performance why not cut them? There’s other schools in the area that would love to have 10 kids or so to add to each of their programs. There could be some fierce competition in 9-man and the lower division below MHS that way.
    Why does it have to be a sport???? Let’s look at non sporting events or is it that the Supt. and board members not have athletes at home? There’s something wrong and more than the usual person filing the blog about Graves can see it.

  5. Does anyone else remember that one of the Superintendent’s justifications for draining the pool was to provide potential practice space for gymnastics? Ha!

    TDR: take ABLE TO THINK’s advice and can the Graves column already. The bully pulpit you provide makes you complicit.

  6. The problem I see with this logic is that it really creates an imbalance of girls sports in the fall versus the winter. Cheer & Dance are fall sports, so you are creating 2 more fall sports and removing a winter sport.
    Going off of the SDHSAA list of sports, girls would have just one option in the winter: basketball. There would be 6 options in the fall: cross-country, dance, cheer, tennis, volleyball, soccer.
    If this is really about keeping the spirit of Title IX alive, the board really needs to consider the implication this decision will have on the other fall sports. It’s actually going to hurt participation of girls activites by creating more competition for a limited pool of participants in the fall sports.

  7. So far this blog has brought out some very basic problems facing the Mitchell Public Schools. Each of the comments seem to have valid points which are worthy of further discussion. There have been no personal attacks but rather objective reports of actions taken by some in this school district over the last ten years. Hopefully the future bloggers will respond to and raise further issues that need a reasonable discussion by more than one person. Personal attacks or personal defenses of those who should defend themselves have no place in this blog.

  8. Eliminate all sports. Let it be funded by donations/parents. Financially, expense of sports VS education is a waste.
    Cut back, cut back, cut back.

  9. I feel sorry for the coach and kids who stuck it out this year after all the upper classmen decided to quit the program at the last minute. I never heard what their reasoning was and I don’t care. It was unfortuante for the younger kids yet they stepped up and did a fine job without any or at least much uperclass leadership. Does the school board think this is a good time to dump the program because the kids are young enough that it woon’t hurt them as much? You can bet they wouldn’t have done it last year after the great season MHS had with many of the kids coming back this year. There are two former MHS gymnasts competing at the Div I level. That should say something for the program. I hope they think very carefully about this. The ESD schools mentioned have dance and cheer in ADDITION TO GYMNASTICS. They haven’t eliminated the program.

  10. Did you play sports when you were a kid? If not you missed out of some of the greatest learning experiences you ever could have had such as teamwork, sportmanship, responsibility, leadership. I could go on and on. If you DID participate as a kid and you STILL feel this way then in my opinion you are just plan selfish.

  11. I am wondering what the real expense is to the school. As I understand, and I may be wrong, the MEGA gymnastics club is purchasing the equipment from the school and owns a large percentage of it already?

  12. Able has some great points!! If this idea has been around for so long why is this the first we, the taxpayers that pay his wage, hear of it. Why was it not in a column?? If TDR really wanted to do a story maybe they could ask more questions. Like who owns the equipment, how much is spent each year on other sports versus how many participants. And really-dance and cheer. Haven’t seen that in the Olympics. But don’t worry. I’m sure it’s a done deal. Have we seen the board go against anything Graves decides??

  13. Dear eliminate, would you rather build a prison or invest in our kids. First and formost, extra curricular activities keep our kids busy with healthy activities. Poor health and obesity cost far more than any football stadium, gymnastics equipment, gyms etc. Cooperation with teamates, pride, and sportsmanship are life skills that current youth, especially those that never get the opportunity to engage in extra curricular activities. Do not minimize the positives of all extra curricular activities to include band, show choir etc. These kids should be upheld as role models for all other kids to follow. Secondly, should we decide to make all activities the expense of the parents, it would make opportunity for those born into socially economic challenges unable to participate in those activities outside of the tax payer supported system. Case and point is swim team, baseball, hockey all of which can cost thousands of dollars a year and in some states cost tens of thousands of dollars per year. Is that what you really want? Look at the big picture instead of your own situation and what is best for you. I would rather stop having the elderly on social security for 30 years than to stop creating a future for our kids. My parents (on SS would agree). How dare anyone take away from our kids what we all enjoyed.

  14. To eliminate. Why do you want to cut athletics? If you’re going there then let’s not single out the athletes. Cut ALL extracuricular programs! I can’t see that the school district is in such financial problems, however we’ve seen some choices that have contradicted each other. The pool for a gymnastics area, wham bam athletic field. I unfortunately can’t make a school board meeting becasue of the locatino I work but I hope that the masses show up and support the kids at the next board meeting. Albeit it seems like the decision has been made but it sure puts a kink in girls sports for the fall. One last dumb question, Is the Cheer/Dance ONLY limited to girls? I would think a strongly competitive group would be made up with both boys and girls. Somehting else to think about.

  15. Here’s a quote from KELO-TV from Sup. Joe Graves….

    “What we’re trying to do now is talk to that group about the possibility of having gymnastics in Mitchell as a club sport,” Graves said. “And the school district would like to support them getting off the ground in whatever way can do that, so that these students don’t lose that experience as we move into other areas.”

    Funny thing is “MEGA” is already a well established club in Mitchell. It’s been “off the ground” for a quite some time now. So I don’t think they need the support from the school since they have had plenty of support from the Gymnasts parents since it’s inception.

    I guess I’m not really sure why Graves is trying to prove here?

  16. The editorial in today’s Daily Republic was an example of writing trying to be informative and at the same time willing to get ideas that are in opposition. The editorial staff did an excellent service in public information. Comparing this editorial with any of the EDUCATIONALLY SPEAKING, it is obvious that the Daily Republic is written by those who have to earn their money while the EDUCATIONALLY SPERAKING columns are written by someone who is spending other person’s money. As subscribers we can choose to buy or not buy papers that publish
    articles worth reading.

    Why does the Daily Republic not poll its subscribers to find out if the subscibers read or even want EDUCATIONALLY SPEAKING included in their purchase?

  17. I’m changing my name…..it does not state my position adaquately.
    NO! I am not selfish. YES! I believe in sports. I have heard of schools in other states that, when push comes to shove, cut the financial support for all sports. If we are suffering financially, education comes first. Club Sport is the term for which I may have been seeking. All my children participated in sports……earning the right to go to state (and medaling). Yes, I understand the benefit of sports. I also understand the benefit of an education, working, and getting along with others.
    Let’s see……Swim club, Extreme Cheerleading, Gymnastics, Summer Baseball, Dance, Piano are all Parent supported. I see nothing wrong with that.

  18. Word is the plan is to bring boys soccer into the fold as a high school sport. That means a girls sport of equal numbers needs to be added to avoid breaking the law. Competitive cheer would need floor space which we already have, and the city is covering the cost of the soccer fields throught the multi-use agreement. Sounds like a business decision to me. If you disagree with the concept, you must let your voice be heard either way. Joe’s argument is sound leagally and financially so you must make your argument either emotionally or wholistically.

  19. Where are the positions of the board members who brag about their skills, knowledge and experience when they want us to vote for them. It seems they need Graves to push their buttons.

  20. Teamwork, discipline, wellness, social skills ALL are just as important as reading, writing and math. Maybe even more so since there are so many people that have knowledge but are unable to apply them. We need balance, and extra curricular activities offer us that balance for far cheaper than treating drug abuse, obesity, social incompatibility, and jealousy. Compare Mitchell football, fields, basketball facilities etc. to anyone else in the ESD and be prepared to be humbled. Yankton, Huron, Brookings, Pierre, Brandon Valley, Aberdeen, and Watertown all have better practice facilities than we. ALL. I am not saying that throwing money at these issues is the answer, but where has the long term planning been over the years to get us to where we are today. Yanktons football field was probably built about the same time as Mitchell’s and it has class as well as History. I love Mitchell, but lets bring back the pride in how we present ourselves to our peers.

  21. I wonder what would happen if Dr. Graves were no longer affiliated with the school system. I have spoke with numerous teachers that have been around for awhile and say the school started to fall apart the minute he showed up! Obviously he is not working with all parties in mind and I wonder what the next Graves Surprise will be……

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