October 23, 2014

AE and AuGres-Sims to look further into combining athletics for next year

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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AuGRES — Representatives from the Arenac Eastern and AuGres-Sims school districts will begin looking at how the public perceives the possibility of combining the districts’ athletic programs for the 2012-13 school year.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24 Superintendent Anne Doriean, athletic director Jeri Christie and high school principal Chad Zeien, of AuGres-Sims and Superintendent Bill Grusecki and assistant athletic director Morgan Potts, of Arenac Eastern met at AuGres-Sims High School to discuss what would need to happen for the districts to combine athletics, and whether the public would be receptive the idea.

“We talked about the possibility of combining and what should happen next,” Grusecki said. “We are taking a serious look at this to see if this is something that could benefit us both.”

Grusecki said the purpose of the meeting was to see how everyone feels about the issue.

“We decided that we want to start asking people in the district how they feel about us combining,” he said.

Grusecki said he plans on talking to parents and community members in Twining at different school functions.

“I’m just going to get out and find a feel of what people are thinking,” he said.

Grusecki said there would be challenges to combining athletics.

“Each district has different eligibility policies and mascots,” he said. “Who would be the coaches? It’s a lot to consider.”

There are also some things that would make the transition easier for the districts, Grusecki said.

“The proximity of the schools is definitely a positive,” he said. “We are close to each other and if we were to combine, it would not be far for our kids to travel.”

If the school were to combine athletics, Grusecki said he believes the student enrollment would allow for the teams to compete in the same regional tournaments.

He added that the districts would also only need one athletic director.

‘I think we could get by with a smaller staff and one athletic director, but I am not sure,” he said. “We would have to find a system we could both live with.”

Earlier this month, Doriean said the two districts had discussed combining athletics in 2009, but talks did not continue.

“Back then, that discussion just did not get off the ground,” she said. “We had talked about what we could do to help each other, but at the time it was not the best move for us.”

According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association website, school districts had until April 15 to submit their request to combine fall sports for the 2011-12 school year. The deadline to submit a request for winter sports was Aug. 15 and the deadline for spring sports is Oct. 15.

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