Germantown renews sports co-op agreements

Four teams field athletes from multiple schools

Feb. 25, 2014

Germantown — With the goal of providing students with an array of options, Germantown school officials on Monday renewed agreements with a number of surrounding districts for cooperative sports teams.

While the School Board heartily supported sharing resources, concerns were raised about surrounding districts' board policies not syncing up with the ones in Germantown.

Germantown high schoolers will continue to have an opportunity to partake in swimming, gymnastics and hockey teams with students in other communities. Four teams, each sanctioned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, or WIAA, have been forged out of the cooperative arrangements in recent years.

Co-ops needed in certain sports

Student participation in the trio of sports has historically been low in each district, meaning a team would likely not be in place if students from only one district were part of it.

The renewed agreements include a boys swimming team with Menomonee Falls and Sussex Hamilton high schools. All team members practice and compete at Menomonee Falls High School's pool.

Germantown also participates in a girls gymnastics team with Menomonee Falls. Practices and competitions are held at Menomonee Falls' high school.

Additionally, Germantown is included in two cooperative hockey teams — one for boys and another for girls. The boys team, with practices and games at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center in West Bend, also includes students from Hartford, Menomonee Falls, Slinger, Sussex Hamilton and West Bend.

The girls team, which will soon be formed, plays and practices at the Ozaukee Ice Center in Mequon. Participants will include students attending districts in Cedar Grove-Belgium, Cedarburg, Grafton, Hartford, Mequon-Thiensville, Port Washington, Slinger and West Bend.

The review of Germantown's participation in the cooperative teams is routine and must be carried out every two years in accordance with WIAA regulations. With board approval granted, the arrangements continue into the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

"All three (existing) programs are doing well and helping serve the needs of the Germantown student athletes," Jack Klebesadel, director of student activities, said.

Policies differ between districts

While there was enthusiasm for the continued arrangements, board member Lester Spies said he fielded several calls from concerned parents. Some of the nearby districts' policies differ from the ones in place in Germantown.

"I think it's important we communicate this with parents," Spies said. "Whatever we can do ...will go a long way."

One of the most prominent examples of differing policies is with overnight field trips. Germantown is a district that requires board approval each time a team has an overnight stay. Other districts, however, do not necessarily have an identical policy in place.

Klebesadel said the district holding the team contract is responsible for going through the measures in place by its board. Consequently, that district also is responsible for the safety and security of all teammates — regardless of whether the participant attends the hosting district.

Board President Robert Soderberg suggested Germantown reach out to all districts within the cooperative arrangements and request policies can be synced up for the co-op teams.

Klebesadel's report to the board left off one team that has been in the works, but is not yet in place. Plans for a lacrosse team, hosted by West Bend, continue to move forward, he said.

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