Forming co-op athletic teams

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 16, 2012 01:20 pm

La Grande School Board close to adopting policy

La Grande High School will not be teaming up with local high schools in the athletic arena anytime soon.

The La Grande School Board is close to adopting a policy that would not allow its school district to form athletic team co-ops with other high schools. A first reading of the proposed policy was given at a meeting of the La Grande School Board Wednesday. The board may vote on adoption of the policy in December.  

LHS, which has about 580 students, has never formed co-ops with other high schools in the past and did not have a policy regarding co-ops. The proposed policy was drafted after the father of a son who is a wrestler and attends a small high school in Union County that does not have a wrestling team recently asked that a co-op be formed. The co-op he requested would have been between his son’s high school and LHS for wrestling.  

La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze then contacted the Oregon School Activities Association for its opinion on the co-op proposal. He received a letter from Peggy Holstedt, the OSAA’s director of policy services, encouraging the La Grande School District to adopt a policy opposing co-ops. She asked Glaze that because of LHS’s size “why would you even consider co-op sponsorships in any sport?’’

Holstedt also wrote in her letter that she is not sure that the OSAA would approve a co-op between LHS and the other school because of its philosophy regarding the merging of high school  teams. She said the OSAA’s written philosophy states it prefers co-ops between small schools and not small schools with large schools.

 Glaze said the intent of co-op sponsorships is to allow small schools that do not have enough students to form teams for certain sports to be able to create one.

A number of co-ops involving high schools in Union County exist. They include co-ops between Elgin and Imbler for softball and cross country, and co-ops between Union and Cove for cross country and softball.

Openings on the La Grande School District’s budget committee were also discussed at the Wednesday meeting. The district has three budget committee openings that nobody has applied for. Applications can be picked up at the district office, 1305 Willow Street. The deadline for applying is Nov. 30. For information call 541-663-3202.