Superintendent speaks his mind on proposed league realignment
Letters to the Editor
The following statement has been sent to all school superintendents in the Okanogan Valley Superintendents’ Association.
Lake Roosevelt HS AD Rich Black has kept me informed in relation to the possible realignment of the Central Washington 2B league that was reported in The Star last week. Relating to full disclosure on my part — my loyalties lie first with LRHS and second with our 2B compatriots. While I can sympathize with Omak’s situation, the 2B league should not sacrifice one or more of its members just to help Omak. Rich and I have discussed the pros and cons of many of the issues related to the WIAA reclassification and the possibility of a “Northern” and Southern” 2B league (with LRHS, Waterville and Soap Lake in the “Southern” league). I want you to be aware of my priorities (in order from most to least important):
1. Student and staff safety: As you are all aware, we put our students, drivers and coaches in harm’s way every time we put them on a bus and send them off to a game. This is especially true in late season football/volleyball and basketball/wrestling. To look forward to putting our buses on the road to the Yakima Valley during these times of year is certainly placing our students, staff members and equipment at level of risk that other 2B schools in our region are not being subjected to;
2. Time out of school: Much like the above, the time required to travel to the “southern” schools requires our students (and our teacher-coaches) to miss an inordinate amount of class time when related to our “northern” neighbors. This loss of class time means our student athletes will need to do more makeup work to keep up with their non-athlete peers, receive less direct instruction, and have a greater burden to maintain their academic eligibility. In addition, many of our teacher-coaches will need substitutes in their place resulting in a reduction of the quality learning for students who remain behind;
3. Maintenance of traditional rivalries: Our student athletes know each other (as you noted, through middle school and summer league competitions) and, when compared to many other areas of the state, maintain fairly healthy rivalries (as do many of our senior community members). We have no healthy rivalries with the “southern” 2B schools due to the distances they are away from us and the lack of “community” similar to what is felt in the Okanogan Valley;
4. Access to post season playoffs: (I know I am preaching to the expert choir on this as all of you have experienced this but I just have to list it for the record) This is just a math problem that has been solved in other leagues. Fractional representation can be done that distributes post-season opportunities fairly. Where fractional representation exists, post season playoffs can be held that won’t affect a large number of students and will minimize the loss of school time and safety risk; and finally,
5. Cost: obviously it will cost GCDSD more to transport our athletes and coaches as a member of a “southern” league. While our district does accept that cost is an unavoidable consequence of providing our student athletes and community with a quality extra-curricular program, to needlessly inflate those costs when a more cost-effective approach is possible should be viewed as unrealistic (in light of everyone’s fiscal issues).
Thank you for taking your time to consider my feelings on this issue. Please feel free to comment and “blast” me as appropriate as I know feelings can be very strong on issues of this type.
Dennis Carlson, Ed.D.
Grand Coulee Dam