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Hampton officials mull proposal to start school gymnastics team

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By Bethany Hofstetter
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Hampton Township School District officials are looking at the possibility of adding gymnastics to the district's list of team sports.

Last week, administrators presented the proposal to start a gymnastics team to school board members for consideration and discussion, which board members planned to continue on Monday, Sept. 9.

“We have about 15 students, many freshmen and sophomores who are interested in the sport,” said Superintendent John Hoover.

In the past, individual gymnasts have represented Hampton High School, but current administrators could not recall if the district ever had an organized team.

Hoover said athletic director Bill Cardone indicated there was interest and money in the athletics budget to support a team now, and that the district would need to hire a coach. Proposed practices and home meets would be held at Jewart's Gymnastics, in Hampton.

Greg Stein, school board member, said he would be interested in entertaining the possibility of starting a gymnastics team because of the benefits to the students involved.

“It requires a tremendous amount of dedication and time management,” he said. “It's a great sport.”

However, many school board members had their reservations and concerns about the total cost of starting a new program.

Larry Vasko, finance chairperson, asked about the costs to the district, such as for transportation to Jewart's, the cost to use Jewart's and any other recurring costs.

“We have a budget process,” Vasko said. “Do we want to incur this cost?”

“We're going to have a tough time with this budget. Are we in a mode to expand and spend more money — when we're faced with PSERS (Public School Employees' Retirement System) — for 12 girls?”

Board members also questioned if the district is responsible for any liability costs or the cost of participants' uniforms.

“It's hard to discuss without knowing the costs,” said school board member Pam Lamagna.

The school board planned to continue discussing the start of a gymnastics team at its Monday, Sept. 9, meeting.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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