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Section 6: CL, Maple Grove can’t merge for 2016-17

March 3, 2016
By Katrina Fuller (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

MAYVILLE (Feb. 24) - Amid a variety of merged football teams in the county, one collaboration is having a tough time in particular.

Officials of the Chautauqua Lake Central School District recently attended a Section VI Executive Committee meeting to appeal the declination of the Maple Grove High School and Chautauqua Lake merged football team for the 2016-17 school year.

At the Feb. 24 board of education meeting, Benjamin Spitzer, superintendent, and Joshua Liddell, athletic director and secondary principal, reported to the board.

"Josh and I went to a meeting after we were notified that there was going to be a recommendation to not allow to combine with Maple Grove next year due to the issue that we were 'dominant,'" Spitzer said. "We put together an appeal and met with the Section VI Executive Committee.We went through that process and thought we made some excellent points as to why we should not go down the path of undoing what has been done."

Combining with Maple Grove could be considered if the merged team moved up a classification.

Spitzer said this would not bode well for the safety of the students and would undo a good and successful program.

"I articulated that no one in the room aside from Josh and I understood the challenge in making this all work and how important it was for a local community to have a sports program that was effective and growing," Spitzer said. "The only message I was getting from this was if you combine, make sure you don't win. That's the feeling."

Liddell said merging with other teams is an issue much bigger than Chautauqua Lake and Maple Grove.

He said that many area schools are combining their football programs. He cited the recent merger of the Fredonia, Brocton and Westfield football teams as an example.

"If you combine those three schools their numbers are a total of 441 students," he said. "For example, Fredonia has 386 kids to choose from. Chautauqua Lake and Maple Grove combined using the formula the state put forth has 277 kids."

According to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, the school or schools with the higher classification number will have a percentage of the other school or schools classification number added based on a graduated scale. The percentage is dependent upon the association's "5 sport classification cut off numbers."

In the case of a Class D school, 20 percent of the other school's classification number would be added; for Class C, 30 percent would be added; for Class B, 30 percent would be added; for Class A, 40 percent would be added; and for Class AA, 50 percent would be added.

The classification numbers are based on the enrollment of the freshman, sophomore and junior classes from the year prior.

He said alone, Chautauqua Lake is almost a Class D classification, and Maple Grove is a Class D team.

As it is, if the merged team ended up playing the Fredonia, Brocton and Westfield team, the Chautauqua Lake and Maple Grove team would have almost 200 less students to choose from, Liddell added.

"That's not even including the 112 kids from Brocton or 171 from Westfield," he said. "Their total number would be really high."

Spitzer said the issue appears to be mergers, from what he can see.

"My concern is: how does this group of individuals trump a board of education?" he said.

The board members asked what the next course of action was, and Spitzer said another appeal is in the works.

 
 
 

 

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