Without ‘have-to-move situation,’ district says Ike staying in District 10

By JOSH COTTON

jcotton@timesobserver.com

If you’re a fan of Eisenhower Middle-High School sports, and you were hoping the school could jump from District 10 to District 9, you’re probably out of luck for a while.

Warren County School District administration recommended that the school remain in District 10 for the time being.

“We’re not seeing a ‘have-to-move’ situation,” Superintendent Dr. William Clark said during the meeting of the Personnel/Athletics & Co-Curricular Committee held earlier this week at the Warren County Career Center. “We’re not seeing any huge benefit to the district as a whole. There’s not a lot of (public) push.”

He said administration’s recommendation is to “stay where we are for now,” and possibly revisit the issue in the future.

Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Gary Weber said, “this was a situation that started two years ago,” when he was principal at Eisenhower. He said the issue was put on hold while a group of citizens attempted to turn Eisenhower into a charter school.

“Part of the problem we run into when we look at this… no matter what they present, there are pros and cons either way,” said Weber. “(It) becomes a persuasive movement. It becomes a choice on someone’s part where they want to belong.”

Phil Knapp, supervisor of district-wide athletics and co-curricular activities, said he explored the ramifications of the potential district switch. Regarding transportation, he said “it’s pretty much a wash,” but noted that cost cannot be determined definitively until the school is granted membership in a league.

Knapp explained that the athletic director would have to schedule all of the school’s contests if in D9, a change from D10, which provides region schedules and just leaves AD’s with the responsibility to schedule independent contests.

Regarding the timing of a potential move, Knapp said “a decision to move would need to take place prior to December.” However, he noted that similar requests to switch districts from McDowell, Farrell and the Tidioute Community Charter School were denied by a District 10 committee and subsequently upheld by the PIAA on appeal.

“I did not have a lot of community discussion,” said Knapp. “It’s not the community pushing this. It’s a handful of people within the school.”

“Is it potentially possible… that we could burn our bridges? D10 could say ‘ok, you guys can do it,’ and D9 says ‘this isn’t working out.’ Where does that leave us,” Board member Dr. Paul Yourchisin asked.

Knapp said that would leave Eisenhower as an independent, with a league affiliation.

Knapp expressed his opinion that District 10 would maintain its precedent of not allowing schools to leave the district. “I don’t know what the PIAA would do or say… PIAA uses numbers to classify schools. They’re going to say, in my mind, an A school is A,” and playoff eligibility is determined by playing A schools, even if a school plays non-region games against larger schools.

Board member Tom Knapp said he “wants this on (the agenda for) board meeting next month with a recommendation and a motion. That way we can formally do one way or the other.” He explained, “the biggest thing that happened to start this was an invitation from D9 for football. They invited Eisenhower to put in for this.”

The October full board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 14.