About two weeks ago I decided I needed to know more about why the Sioux Falls School Board is considering the cut. I talked briefly to three different school officials. All three of them were clear, It’s going to be cut. While money and participation rates were mentioned, one thing was pretty clear, this cut was inevitable months ago when the school board was having budget talks;

“The lack of transparency regarding the process to cut gymnastics has been unsettling. The level of misinformation regarding the narrative of the gymnastics program’s history is alarming. And to force young women to come before the board to beg to participate in a sport that they love is appalling,” parent Angie Allen said.

I’m obviously on the fence since a majority of my property taxes goes to educating other people’s kids, which I’m fine with, but I do get my feathers ruffled a bit when the only time parents show up to tangle with the district is to save some program for a handful of kids (remember the AP fight with moving the school start date?).

I said to one of the school officials, “Isn’t public school really about educating?”

I also talked to some friends with young kids. One couple told me it has to do with the club sports. I’m all for club sports, just like it costs me money to maintain my bicycles, the payoff is enjoyable recreation and transportation. Sometimes if you want to do something that is NOT offered on the government dole you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. But these parents told me that some of the club sports will not allow membership if you are competing in public sports of the same genre. Then there are the kids on free or reduced lunches who definately are NOT participating in club sports. Not sure if this is true, but it seems odd to me that the school district isn’t sitting down with ALL club sport leadership and the SF Parks department to come up with more equitable options.

Of course that brings us back to transparency again.

I think the school board and administration COULD have found the funding this year, which could have given them a YEAR to figure out a permanent solution thru public meetings and forums. In a year, the conclusion may be the same, but at least you vetted the program with parents in a open forum and tried everything possible to save it.

What if the SFSD proposed cutting girls basketball or boys football? Parents would have torn the Instructional Planning Center to the ground.

Are we saying those sports are more important because there is more participation? Maybe there is more participation because there is more funding?

I agree with gymnastic parents, this is really about fairness. And even if I don’t have children, I do sympathize with these parents, because once again government secrecy provided an authoritarian plan that it seems no one is happy about, even the school board members.

Parents need to ask for open government first, then we can proceed with the negotiations, because what happened Monday night was NOT a negotiation. Parents were handed a decree from school board members who prepared their Monday night ‘I feel your pain’ speech weeks ago.

7 Thoughts on “Sioux Falls School District cuts Gymnastics

  1. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on April 25, 2023 at 9:19 am said:

    I thought the Governor was going to protect women’s sports?

  2. l3wis on April 25, 2023 at 9:31 am said:

    Don’t give her any ideas, her relationship with the SFSD hasn’t always been a cooperative one.

    It often puzzles me with local boards when they cut tiny line items from the budget. Gymnastics would be .0002% of the entire SFSD yearly budget.

  3. Further Fear & Loathing on April 25, 2023 at 10:12 am said:

    In what year will Lincoln Band funding be cut? Most likely not until the start of the inevitable Badlands Pawn apocalypse.

    Music soothes the fated soul. That’s why they used to have drummer boys go to war, but an apocalypse might be just too much for them.

  4. Balancing act on April 25, 2023 at 10:35 am said:

    There are fewer skinny kids left. We already have enough potholes in town. They decided to balance the budget without a balance beam. That was rather straight forward of them. No more chalk for the hands or feet, just for the board. Leave it to the Board to walk this fine line without mercy, but with a confidence that would leave some flipped-out as their final act ends with only their own balance…. AND, the board hopes they will now leave with their tails between their legs, or are those merely wedgies of innocence subjected to the whims of a bureaucratic indifference?

  5. Ask a baseball or hockey parent about gymnastics being cut. Welcome to the excluded club Balance Beam Betty.

  6. Don’t worry, the mayor will take a selfie with all involved and all will be right in the world again.

  7. Matt on May 1, 2023 at 9:25 am said:

    Lincoln band band boosters fund that band for the most part.

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