Back to the MHC - Schools should get behind realignment

HR News editorial

Put Hood River Valley High School back in the Mt. Hood Conference.

That proposal is positioned to go next month before the Oregon School Activities Association, or OSAA.

To this request, the state agency ought to say Oh-Yes-AA.

Credit the HRVHS administration for keeping an Eagle eye on regional education matters and perceiving an opportunity.

That opportunity is last month’s decision by North Wasco County School Board to make one high school for The Dalles and Wahtonka students starting this September.

The new, unnamed Wasco County high school would be large enough to be a 4A high school, like HRVHS, and a more natural choice for inclusion in the Intermountain Conference. HRVHS was realigned from the MHC to the IMC a year ago, and is halfway through its second season of competition with central and eastern Oregon schools, including Bend, Crook County and Pendleton.

Realignment to IMC was done for the convenience of every school other than HRVHS, despite pleas by fellow MHC schools to keep HRVHS where it was.

At tonight’s school board meeting in Cascade Locks, the Hood River County School District will consider requesting that the OSAA executive committee look at such a realignment proposal in its Dec. 8 meeting. Athletic director Mitch Sanders and co-principals Martha Capovilla and Steve Fisk made the request in a letter to the school board that cautioned it is unlikely the change would be made in time for the 2004-05 school year.

“Although it is unlikely that the effort this year will produce a change in alignment, we will need to make a major effort in the 2004-05 school year to prove the momentum to motivate the OSAA to recognize our position.”

The letter concludes with the statement, “We are not going to go away on this issue.”

Indeed, the district should not go away. The administration polled its coaches and found support for the idea of returning to MHC. The school board should honor the request to make the OSAA agenda Dec. 8, and then get behind whatever lobbying effort it takes to convince the ruling group that HRVHS should be realigned.

The factors are numerous: travel times — and costs — would decrease as would loss of class time, MHC is a more cohesive conference, and participation in MHC would lead to more parent and fan participation.

For all these reasons, Hood River Valley belongs in the Mt. Hood Conference.

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