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State denies reclassification appeals by Bennett, Maple Grove/CL

Appeal denied, but the wait for the completion of the Section VI football schedule continues.

The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association's executive committee denied the reclassification appeals filed by the Buffalo Public School district on Bennett's behalf and by the Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake combined team. The combined schools competition committee for Section VI opted to move each team up a class despite the suggestion of their respective BED numbers. Bennett/Olmsted/Middle College/East added up to Class B, while Maple Grove/CL equaled a Class C school. But the the combined schools committee moved them up a class because each reached a sectional final last year.

Buffalo Schools Athletic Director Aubrey Lloyd confirmed the verdict to the News via text Friday afternoon, while Section VI football chairman Ken Stoldt said Maple Grove/CL learned of the decision earlier this week and will hold a school board meeting Monday night to determine whether that merger continues or ends.

After that meeting, the section will know just what adjustments must be made to complete the master schedule, Stoldt said. He hopes to release an first draft of the schedule for coaches and school officials by the end of next week. The earliest date for the schedule to be released to the public could be around May 23. In past years, the section's football schedule has been released by March.

Bennett, which had been merged in past years with Olmsted and the Alternative School, switched partners and moves from C to Class A. Though Lloyd is disappointed the district lost the appeal, he will abide by the ruling and Bennett will compete as a Class A program.

Maple Grove/CL officials voiced support for remaining merged last week, but Bemus Point Schools Superintendent Mike Mansfield said Maple Grove would listen to input from parents and coaches before making a decision on whether to remain merged.

"Maple Grove and Chautauqua Lake have to decide what's best for their community,"Stoldt said. "If you look at the rest of the state there are only two sections that schedule by class (while the rest schedule by league and mix in schools of different classification). The argument that it's going to be too difficult for them to compete at B, I don't know how much water that holds. The rest of the state does that."

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