Parents Speak Out as Potential Athletic Co-op Takes Center Stage at Joint Meeting
FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT) — The Keystone School District Board of Education’s Athletic Council held a community meeting in conjunction with the administrative and board representatives from Union and Allegheny-Clarion Valley School Districts on Wednesday night to provide information to the community about a potential athletic co-op between the three school districts.
(PHOTO ABOVE: Parents and community members gather in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School auditorium Wednesday night.)
The meeting, which was held in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley High School Auditorium, was scheduled to run from 6:00 p.m. at 8:00 p.m. The meeting went until about 8:50 p.m.
About 120 people from the three districts attended the public meeting with 17 administrators, athletic directors, and school board members in attendance, including superintendents Michael Hall (Keystone), David McDeavitt (A-C Valley), and John Kimmel (Union).
The window for deciding whether or not to co-op is short, according to district administration. If the districts don’t apply before November 30th, they will be disallowed from participating in playoffs in the 2024-2025 season.
According to district administration representatives, the main reason for co-oping is to give students more opportunities to play competitive sports. They pointed to PIAA rules that disallow districts from co-oping for the purpose of improving outcome potential in competitions.
Not all sports programs are on the table.
Administrators shared a 16-page Cooperative Athletics Procedural Handbook with community members, which detailed how the districts would cooperate should the three school boards vote for the co-op including revenue & expense sharing and transportation plans.
After a one-hour presentation, which included answers to questions that were submitted prior to the meeting, the time was opened to the public for questions and comments. Several parents expressed concern that the co-op would actually hurt participation rather than help it, citing some students’ desire to play with the friends that they’ve played with since they were children along with concerns about added time spent being transported from school to school.
Other parents complained that their children may not get enough playing time, and having larger teams would hurt their chances of seeing any time off-the-bench. Coaches countered that with larger rosters, more teams can be organized at the junior varsity and freshman level, making it more likely for second and third stringers to get play time.
District administrators invited parents and concerned citizens to attend school board meetings in their districts and voice their support or opposition to their board members.
Allegheny-Clarion’s next school board meeting is set for November 13th at 6:00 p.m. The next Union School District board meeting will be held on November 16th at 7:00 p.m. Keystone School District’s next board meeting is scheduled for November 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Union and A-C Valley school districts are currently co-oped in several sports. Their football co-op began in 2016, their track and field teams combined two years ago, and the softball teams combined this year.
Keystone does not currently co-op with any other school districts, though they have allowed students to wrestle with the Clarion Area School District.
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