Garden City Board of Education approves girls wrestling for middle schools

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Members of Garden City High School's marching band perforn during a home football game in September at Buffalo Stadium.

Girls wrestling has been approved for Horace Good and Kenneth Henderson Middle Schools for the 2021-22 school year at the USD 457 Board of Education's regular meeting Monday. 

The topic was approved after it was tabled at the Board's April 26 meeting. 

In 2020 the Middle School Western Athletic Conference, the league which Garden City schools belong to, voted to create their own middle school girls wrestling program. 

At the April 26 meeting Matt Bayer, Kenneth Henderson Middle School Associate Principal and Athletics and Activities Teacher on Special Assignment, said Kenneth Henderson and Horace Good were the only two middle schools that didn't join the MSWAC for girls wrestling this past year because they could still participate during the boys wrestling season, however this year they have to join the league for the girls to be able to participate. 

"KSHAA is separating boys wrestling and girls wrestling, so we really don't have a choice," he said. "If we want to have girls wrestling next year it has to be separated and not conjoined."

The program will be run similarly to the boys wrestling program and will utilize the same facilities, however there are some costs to add the program, such as hiring coaches and purchasing uniforms. 

It will cost approximately $4,596.02 for each school to hire a head coach and assistant coach. 

Uniforms will cost approximately $2,565 at Horace Good and $2,112.50 at Kenneth Henderson. Uniforms are not an additional cost as they will be figured into the current activities budget at each schools.  

Additionally $500 would be needed for each school for the program. $500 is budgeted each year for the boys programs, so the additional $500 to each school's budget would give the girls the same funds without having to cut funds from another program.

In other business the Board listened to a request for a Garden City High School Performing Arts Department trip to Orlando, Fla., for members of the GCHS band, orchestra, choir and theater programs to perform in Disney Magic Music Days at Walt Disney World. 

The trip has historically been conducted once every four years. This would be GCHS second time at Disney World. 

The estimated cost of the trip is $1,675 per student, with an estimated 250 students, for a total cost of about $418,750. No district funds would be allocated for the trip, everything would need to be raised and or paid for by the participants.

Lyle Sobba, director of Bands, said each program that has decided to participate has already identified ways they plan to host fundraisers to help defray the cost of the trip for students that choose to go. 

In the past student have been able to fundraiser for the entire trip, Sobba said. 

"In years past we have had students who have come in and have not done any fundraising prior to the trip year who have fundraised the entire cost of the trip. It comes down to the opportunities and whether or not the students want to really hustle and make that happen," he said. "We've also had students who have chosen to do very little fundraising and have just paid for the trip on their own. Every year I have a student who walks in and say I want to go, I have a job, help me plan for this. So we sit down and help create a plan for them."

Steve Karlin, USD 457 superintendent, said he and GCHS principal Steve Nordby, do have concerns about approving the trip due to the cost. 

"We are totally supportive of the idea that our performing arts kids have the opportunity to travel .. but our concern is really primarily around (the cost)," he said.

The board tabled making a decision until the next board meeting on June 7.