Homestead considers switching co-ops for girls hockey

Students playing with USM now, could move to Cedarburg

Feb. 19, 2013

Mequon - Varsity girls hockey players at Homestead High School could be playing for a different co-op team beginning next season.

Mequon-Thiensville School District Superintendent Demond Means on Monday informed the School Board that Homestead High School recently received a formal offer to continue with its existing girls hockey co-op with the University School of Milwaukee, and another offer to join a co-op with Cedarburg High School.

"As a district, we've never been in a position where there's actually two offers to be part of a co-op," Means explained.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association requires that the decision to join a co-op be made no later than April 1, Means said. As a result, the School Board will be asked to consider acting on a recommendation on which co-op to join at its March 18 meeting.

Athletic Director Ryan Mangan, along with parents from each co-op, two girls hockey coaches and Assistant Principal Kate Dunning, will be meeting with representatives from each co-op in order to evaluate both options over the course of the next two to three weeks and make an appropriate determination.

Parents in attendance at the meeting voiced opinions both for and against the idea of joining the Cedarburg High School co-op, instead of remaining with the existing one.

Tim Andersen, whose daughter plays hockey for the USM co-op now in place, expressed concerns that the district could be damaging the existing co-op in order to create a new one.

"I think that if we were to choose to move to the new co-op, it would have a negative effect on both teams. In fact, I don't think that we have enough girls hockey players to sustain two hockey teams in the North Shore," Andersen said.

"I think the conversation we should be having is how do we include Cedarburg, Grafton, Port (Washington) in the current co-op," he added.

Meanwhile, parent Shelley Burns told the board that parents of the Ozaukee Youth Hockey Association have been talking to athletic directors at Homestead since 2009 about the right time to move Homestead from the current USM co-op to a new high school expansion co-op at the Ozaukee Ice Rink.

Adequate player numbers for both programs exist now and looking ahead, Burns said.

"Next year there will be approximately 21 girls at Homestead, Cedarburg, Grafton and Port, all of whom want to play WIAA high school hockey, and this is in addition to the approximately 17 girls eligible to play out of the USM co-op," Burns said.

Of the 10 Homestead girls currently eligible to play high school hockey, eight play on the OYHA team and two play in the USM co-op, Burns added, so making the switch this year could mitigate the impact on the numbers of the USM program.

Others, however, expressed concern that there had not been more prior communication to parents regarding the Cedarburg co-op option.

"This should have been proposed eight months ago during the budget talks, and also so people can have a longer time to speak about it," parent Mark Gold said.

Means said he believes district staff will have adequate time to review both co-op proposals. He advised board members to forward any questions to administrative staff as soon as possible.

"As the administrative team, as the school district, it's our job to find the best option for our student athletes," Means said.

The public also will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed recommendation at the March 18 meeting, before any board action being taken.


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