Hood River Valley High School may move to 6A classification

HRVHS will opt-up to a 6A district if OSAA does not approve a move to 5A District-2

October 8, 2005

The Oregon Schools Activities Association’s (OSAA) timeline for finalizing its major redistricting plan is quickly counting down. A final recommendation will be presented to the OSAA Delegate Assembly on Oct. 24 and a decision on the recommendation will be made later that day.

Hood River Valley High School has three options in the major shakeup, which will take effect in the fall of 2006.

Option one: Go with the recommendation made by OSAA to move up to 5A, District-6 (in the same region as the current Intermountain Conference).

Option two: Offer testimony at the Oct. 24 hearing as to why Hood River should be placed in a district different than that which was recommended by the OSAA Re-districting Committee.

Option three: Opt-up to a 6A district somewhere in the Portland/Mount Hood region. Deadline for this option was this week.

HRVHS administrators and the athletic director have made the decision; Hood River does not belong in the region of the Intermountain Conference. Ideally, their testimony on Oct. 24 would be heard and Hood River accepted into 5A, District-2, which would include Sandy, Milwaukie, Woodburn, Silverton, Parkrose and Wilsonville.

But testimony on Oct. 24 may or may not convince the OSAA committee to change their recommendation and opting-up is a sure thing. Therefore, Hood River County School District superintendent Pat Evenson-Brady and Board of Directors Chair Jan Veldhuisen-Virk submitted a request this week for HRVHS to opt-up to 6A, District-3 if they will not be accepted into 5A, District-2. 6A, District-3 would include David Douglas, Reynolds, Gresham, Barlow, Centennial, St. Mary’s and possibly Central Catholic.

Whatever the final decision, it looks like HRVHS will not be traveling to Central and Eastern Oregon for sports next school year.

The following is text from the proposal submitted this week to the OSAA Re-Districting Committee on behalf of Hood River Valley High School:

“Our school district believes the 5A classification is the best fit for our student athletes. Hood River Valley High School has been competing in the Intermountain Conference for the last three years. The move from the Mount Hood Conference to the Intermountain Conference has created many issues for our school district, coaches, parents, and student athletes, issues we will continue to face if we stay in District-6.

Hood River County School District is requesting that Hood River Valley High School be placed in District-2 at the 5A classification. This is the same request that we made in 2002, 2004 and earlier this year.

If moving to District #2 at the 5A level is not an option, Hood River County School District would then like to have Hood River Valley High School opt up to 6A (opting up would be based purely on financial concerns).

Here are our major issues:

Loss of class time: Traveling to IMC schools costs our student athletes 139 hours of lost class time per year. Moving to District-2 would reduce the amount of missed class time by 68 percent. Student athletes would miss only 45.75 hours of class.

Travel cost: Hood River County School District has incurred a 98-percent increase in travel cost competing in the IMC as compared to MHC. A move to District 2 would save between $27,000 to $33,000 dollars in travel cost alone. Add another $18,000 dollars in overnight lodging and it is obvious the financial impact the move to the IMC has had on our school district.

Student athlete study time/travel time: In the IMC, our student athletes spend over 520 hours riding on busses to and from events. A move to District-2 would cut bus time by over 235 hours.

Parent participation: Competing in the IMC has decreased the number of parents who travel to away events. By moving into District-2, parents would be able travel to away events because the amount of travel will be reduced.

Coaching vacancies: Hood River Valley High School has seen an increase in coaching vacancies. Our school district and community has a small coaching pool. It has been difficult to fill all of our coaching positions because of the time and travel commitments of the IMC. A move to District-2 would help to remedy this situation and increase the number of quality coaches we employ.

Safety risks: The safety risks associated with traveling, especially in the winter months to Central and Eastern Oregon, is a concern for many parents, students and our school district. Every winter we have incurred additional unplanned motel costs for our athletes due to inclement weather.

Conclusion: The OSAA and Hood River County School District are in the business of doing what is best for kids. It seems a good choice, for reasons above, to place Hood River Valley High School into District-2. It is better fit for student athletes; academically, fiscally and competitively. If the OSAA Executive Board does not feel Hood River Valley would be a good fit in District-2, we would like to opt up to 6A and compete in District 3.”

(Text written by Jan Veldhuisen Virk, chair, Hood River County School District Board of Directors and Pat Evenson-Brady, Ph.D., superintendent)

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