ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford school administrators are exploring a possible merge with the park district to offer sports programs at a lower cost. Former Rockford coach Mike Winters points out there's more questions than answers.
"At a time when I think they're just coming back and competing really well, I would hate to see that quality slip at all."
District leaders said many details have not been worked out yet. But they say they won’t move forward with the idea if Rockford can not keep its NIC-10 status and that’s drawing concern on our Facebook page.
District administrators are looking into how they can meet IHSA requirements and offer these athletic programs at a lower cost and still compete in the NIC-10.
IHSA leaders tell 23 News based on what little they know about the proposal, the NIC-10 status could be eliminated if both merge. They said there are certain rules that do not recognize parks as hosts of competitive sports.
"I don't think the IHSA will approve it on the high school level. It's kind of unprecedented."
About eight years ago, Sterling school district did a similar merge for its junior high students. It's saving the district $30,000 a year in salaries and operations, but has led to fewer students getting involved.
"When you don't have your coaches out in the building and having direct contact with your student athletes, I think sometimes you lose participation a little bit," Sterling Athletic Director Greg King said.
Winters said if District 205 moves forward with this proposal, it likely has to be on a smaller scale or some students may leave.
There are two public meetings scheduled for public comment and information. The dates are…
Wednesday, January 26th at Auburn High School Auditorium 5:30pm
Tuesday, February 1st, Guilford High School Auditorium 5:30pm