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Latest team merger is a winning combo

January 9, 2013
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Another high school sports merger could soon take place.

It was recently announced that the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds and Maple Grove Red Dragons - both Class D programs - may merge its football programs. If it happens, it would not be the first time in the area. Already, Brocton team members are playing on the Westfield football team and Ripley students are teaming with Sherman.

And, as has been well documented, Chautauqua Lake is no stranger to mergers. The district was formerly made up of the Mayville and Chautauqua districts, consolidated in 1995 to become Chautauqua Lake. It also currently partners with other districts for its boys and girls swimming, wrestling as well as boys tennis and golf.

"One of the things that our board looks at when we possibly have to cancel a program, because of financial constraints or low enrollment, is combining," Chautauqua Lake secondary school principal and athletic director Josh Liddell said. "That's been a very successful format for us in the past. These combinations have enabled us to continue to provide our student athletes with co-curricular options."

But while numerous school teams continue to merge, individual districts continue to exist due to longtime traditions in the county. It used to be school merger votes were defeated, in part, because of neighboring sporting rivalries. That cannot be considered the case today.

So while we wholeheartedly support the mergers of all sporting teams, we think educational quality would also win if the merger process was not as drawn out as it currently is. Maple Grove and Chautauqua Lake only need board approval to make the football teams combine. That's it. No public vote.

Think of the cash - and hurdles - that saves the district. The same could be said of future mergers. If the both boards, already elected by district residents, approve a merger, shouldn't that be the final say? Residents voting on school mergers can sometimes result in only further muddying the water.



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