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The Observer Paper 11/26/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow MORE SCHOOLS SHOULD DROP TO 1A LEVEL

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MORE SCHOOLS SHOULD DROP TO 1A LEVEL

The exodus of young families from Northeast Oregon continues, and the effects on education are immediate. Schools lose money with every student who departs, teachers lose jobs, and the students left behind must deal with fewer education options in larger classes.

The effects on athletic competition may be felt as soon as next year. Imbler High School is considering dropping to the Class 1A competition level of the Oregon School Activities Association. Imbler High's enrollment is 99 this year, well below the 115-student maximum for Oregon's smallest competition level. At the most, enrollment is projected to hit 108 four years from now.

The major concern school board members have about the switch in classifications is travel time to and from athletic contests. The Class 1A Old Oregon League would involve trips to Crane (494 miles roundtrip), Jordan Valley (419 miles) and Adrian (352 miles), all-day affairs for those involved.

Cove, Wallowa and Powder Valley high schools already make those trips as members of the league, and Imbler officials would be wise to discuss the travel effects on teenagers with representatives from those schools.

But that lingering enrollment problem may have the ultimate solution. Joseph High School has an enrollment of 108, and Pine Eagle High School in Halfway has been hovering around the cutoff level.

Those three schools could join Wallowa, Cove and Powder Valley and form a north division to the Old Oregon League, while Prairie City, Crane, Jordan Valley and Adrian could join forces with the smaller-school Trico League teams to form a south division. Such a move would strengthen the traditionally weak Trico, while cutting down on travel time for all schools involved.

Competing in Eastern Oregon has its travel disadvantages, no doubt. But a concerted and combined effort by schools wishing to improve their lot would make the trips much easier for everyone involved.

MEN MUST DO BATTLE

Shelter from The Storm's efforts to get men to sign their names to a full-page newspaper ad titled, "Men against domestic violence," is commendable.

WomEn, for too long, have been the leaders in the battle against domestic violence — and with good reason. Women and their offspring often have been the victims of battering and other abuse within the home.

It's fine for men to sign their name to an ad. Men also should be willing to step forward and be equally as aggressive as women in combating domestic violence. The effort to stop one of society's greatest evils should have no gender boundaries whatsoever.

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