The Ottumwa school board is reviewing the athletic sharing agreements and voting on same on Nov. 12. I have been involved with the girls and boys swim teams running the timing equipment for many years.

If you remember, we didn’t have a girls team for several years because we didn’t have enough team members. Through a lot of hard work, recruiting though our local feeder swim teams we were able to bring back a program. Those feeder teams didn’t just have members from the Ottumwa school district. They came to Ottumwa to swim because their school districts didn’t have a swim program. We welcomed them with open arms and each one made great contributions to our team.

The parents and athletes from these surrounding areas sacrificed by traveling daily to and from Ottumwa. They did it because they were committed to swimming. Many had to pay the fee to swim on our team out of their own pockets. Their school districts did not pay that fee. These students are dedicated to the sport.

One argument is that when students come in from other areas, our own students are not able to participate in that sport. During my time working with the swim team I have not seen one Ottumwa student who has not been able to swim because of these sharing agreements. I did not hear complaints by parents or students during my time with the programs.

We currently have sharing agreements for girls and boys swimming, girls bowling, and girls and boys soccer. Agreement are with Albia, Cardinal, Davis County, Eddyville and Fairfield.

The total number of students with sharing agreements in the swimming and bowling programs are eight of 82 students. Numbers not available for soccer teams. I have to believe there are only two or thee sharing agreements in the soccer programs. That means there are only 11-12 students with sharing agreements. Will that few students really make a negative impact on Ottumwa sports? They have have made a very positive impact in our athletic programs. Would not allowing the sharing agreements make an impact on these children? Yes, and not a positive impact.

The boys swim team is a total of 19 boys. Stopping the sharing agreements would mean a team of 16. That makes it difficult to compete. Coach Langland is working on getting more boys to swim from our feeder teams.

Colleges are offering great scholarships to students for bowling. William Penn has provided scholarships for many of our bowlers to continue their education.

We ned to support our children in any way we can. Please do not stop these sharing agreements.

Kim Ardueser

Ottumwa