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Lawrence School District proposes removing high school gymnastics programs

Jayhawk Gymnastics
Posted at 7:48 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 20:48:15-05

LAWRENCE, Kan. — What's next for gymnastics in the Lawrence School District is up in the air.

"Not to have a program is going to be tough and it's not fair to have it taken from us," Hillary Jones, the mother of Lawrence High School gymnast said.

The idea of ending the programs are not scoring well with those closest to the sport.

"Sports are so important for being active in school and if that's somebody one thing that's being taken, it's just tough," Jones said. "And I really hope that they do see and understand and open their eyes to what we're feeling and what the athletes and coaches are feeling."

One year after Free State High School brought home a 6A State title, the Lawrence School District has advanced a proposal to end the sport at both Lawrence and Free State high schools.

"A lot of this feels like lip service and it doesn't feel like they value who we are as a program, what we've built, what we said we would build and we did," Katrina Farrow, Lawrence High School gymnastics coach said.

A district spokesperson said there are several factors which led to the recommendation. Citing a lack of space for storing equipment, safety of those moving the equipment, wear and tear, as well as repairs and replacements.

The district estimates $32,000 would be needed for costs of coaches, transportation and new equipment, something it says is not possible due to budget shortfalls.

"Those are normal costs for any sport, you have your travel costs, you have your equipment costs, things like that," Farrow said.

Local gym, Jayhawk Gymnastics, hosts both of the high school teams practices. Their concern is what happens to the sport in the state if the board approves cutting the program.

"It's really a detriment for the whole program of Kansas gymnastics, if we get rid of our two high schools," Jerynn Lindbloom, head coach at Jayhawk Gymnastics said.

Fourteen schools in the state of Kansas have a gymnastics program. Five are in the Shawnee Mission School District, five are in the Olathe School District, two in the Lawerence School District, along with Emporia and Newton.

The school board is expected to vote on the future of the programs at its next board meeting on Monday, Dec. 13.