Medina school district votes to continue shared sports with Lyndonville

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 February 2019 at 1:14 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Board of Education on Tuesday was unanimous in approving intermunicipal agreements with Lyndonville to continue shared sports, as well as the musical program.

“It’s been seamless between Medina and Lyndonville students,” said David Sevenski, president of the Medina BOE. “It’s been a natural fit. It’s opened up more opportunities for kids.”

Lyndonville’s Board of Education also approved the eight agreements last week. There was some debate at Lyndonville over the shared boys varsity soccer team. Some Lyndonville community members and two board members wanted Lyndonville and Medina to go back to having their own varsity boys’ soccer teams. Both communities have about 20 boys interested in playing varsity soccer next fall, more than enough for their own teams.

However, both school boards decided to keep the shared team and avoid “uncertainty from year to year,” Sevenski said.

The numbers for both schools might not be there long-term for each district to support their own varsity boys soccer team, he said.

Lyndonville and Medina both have now approved four-year agreements for eight shared programs. Lyndonville hosts the boys volleyball, girls varsity soccer and the musical program. Medina hosts a boys varsity soccer, varsity football, cross country, the marching band and swimming.

The districts don’t bill each other for students who participate in the programs. That differs with Medina’s agreement with Barker, where that district pays Medina for each Barker student on the Mustang football team.

The 4-year agreements are longer than the one- to two-year agreements that were in place since the district first started sharing programs about six years ago.

Sevenski said the agreements are often hotly debated each year and can “burn up a lot of time.” He said the longer time period allows the districts, students and parents to have set expectations for the programs in the next few years.

Even with the longer agreements, Sevenski said school administrators from both districts will continue to discuss the agreements on a frequent basis.

“We talk about it ad nauseum, looking at all of the different angles and how it is affecting everyone,” Sevenski said.

The agreements also allow volunteers from both districts to participate in the programs, assisting coaches and program leaders.

Both Medina and Lyndonville face declining student enrollments. The shared programs have allowed the districts to offer strong programs, Sevenski said.

Some Lyndonville board members last week said Medina wanted “all or nothing” with the agreements, that Lyndonville needed to do a shared boys soccer team or risk the other merged teams and programs.

Sevenski said Medina didn’t put that pressure on Lyndonville.

“There was no edict from Medina that it had to be all or nothing,” he said. “We went to great lengths to not twist anybody’s arm.”

The two districts are open to expanding their partnership to other programs. Sevenski said they are discussing a shared part-time grant writer for next school year.

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