FMCSD board approves new shared agreements

Unanimous vote puts 13 shared programs back in play


FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison Community School District Board of Directors, in a quick special meeting Tuesday night, approved 13 new shared athletic agreements with area schools.

The board voted unanimously after a brief discussion period to approve the one-year agreements with Holy Trinity Catholic, Central Lee Community School District, and Burlington School District.

Under the proposed agreements, Holy Trinity would pay FMCSD a sum total of $20,000 for 10 shared programs to cover the costs of the program. The agreements include sharing boys' and girls' track, boys' and girls' soccer, boys' and girls' wrestling, boys' and girls' tennis, girls' cross country, and baseball.

The agreements are good for one year and must be renewed annually. However, if both sides agree that the programs should split into their own programs again, the schools can come back together at any point. But if one school disengages from a shared program and the other school doesn’t approve of the split, the programs split, but the school that split off can’t approach the other school for a minimum of five years.

“That was to tie each other together for the long-term. To where we can’t just pick and choose what sports we want to share and when we want to share them,” said Board President Josh Wykert.

Board Vice-President Mio Santiago said the concept was to make schools really examine and be comfortable with the decision to split off.

“If you’re going to leave the shared program to start your own team or continue your own team, however you want to phrase it, both schools are going to have to be pretty darned sure they are going to be able to support those teams for the next five years,” he said.

Board member Paul Wilkerson asked if that wasn’t a convenient way for FMCSD to end the sharing agreement.

Santiago said the terms were negotiated with the HTC board.

“They’re comfortable with it. I don’t think we need to negotiate against ourselves,” he said.

Wilkerson asked Wykert how the district arrived at the compensation rates for the other schools.

“We did an analysis of the sports we share, the coaching costs that go into them, transportation fees, dues, officials, field rentals if there are any, and then prorated it on a per-athlete basis,” Wykert said.

He said the basis was using non-football athletes at HTC, which he said was 18 and figuring what percent that was of total athletes in the shared program, which was 236. That generated a percentage of 7.6% and the $20,000 was more representative of that percentage than the $10,000.

Wilkerson said not all the costs should have been factored in.

“I’m not sure it’s fair to use some of the expenses for this. I understand things that would add to the cost, but as far as officials, that would be the same if it was one kid or 100 kids. The athletic director, if he was involved in this, I don’t see how it would take any more of his time to do those things,” he said.

“I’m having a hard time dealing with what that is.”

Wykert said the same formula was applied to Central Lee’s per student figure.

“What if that number is different at the end of the year? Do we make an adjustment?” Wilkerson asked.

Wykert said with regard to HTC’s payment, officials there said it would be easier to sell to their board a lump sum rather than a per-athlete charge.

Wykert said it was his understanding Holy Trinity is set to vote on the payment at its Thursday night meeting. The agreements have to be sent to the state Department of Education by April 30.

Board member Carol Ross asked if Central Lee was okay with the $350 payment and Wykert said they were.

Central Lee Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier said he didn’t know the per athlete payment had increased to $350 until he heard it from the media, but said the Central Lee board had approved the shared agreement back in March.

Fort Madison Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater wasn’t in attendance at the FMCSD board meeting due to a previously scheduled appointment.

Board member Dianne Hope thanked Wykert and Santiago for their work in getting a resolution.

“This whole thing on both sides - we could have done a much better job. Both boards knew the agreement was expiring, so HTC could have taken action just as well as we had. It’s been a tough week.”

She said many messages were left on her voicemail and some she had to delete.

“It was hard. It’s unfortunate that we cannot agree to disagree and do it in a very respectful way. I’m sorry for those of us that had to maybe take that.”

Wykert handed out a statement on behalf of the board following the meeting.

“As a board, we are pleased to reach a new agreement for Fort Madison CSD students to take part in shared athletic programs with HTC for the 2023-24 school year… Additionally we are happy to have come to an agreement with Central Lee so that our wrestling student-athletes can continue to compete and collaborate with one another.

“We believe these agreements support our school district’s mission of ensuring all students learn the academic and life skills necessary for personal success and reasonable living. We strive to ensure that every student succeeds not only in academics, but also when participating in clubs, activities, and service to the community.”

Fort Madison, sports, shared programs, athletics, Holy Trinity Catholic, swimming, Burlington, soccer, track, board of directors, news, Pen City Current, Josh Wykert,


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