Student Well-Being

Ore. Schools Divided Over Classifications

By Rhea R. Borja — May 23, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A decision to expand Oregon’s classification system for school sports has caused such an uproar among school districts that the state superintendent will try to resolve the dispute. Still, the issue may go to court.

In October, the delegate assembly of the Oregon School Activities Association, which represents 287 member schools, voted 30-1 to expand the enrollment-based classifications from four leagues to six. That means that a 1,525-student high school, for example, would switch from being in the 4A league, now the largest, to the 6A league.

The new system would take effect this September.

The assembly approved the change to minimize travel time and costs for schools and level the competitive balance within the leagues, said Steve Walker, the sports director of the Wilsonville, Ore.-based OSAA.

“They felt that they were leveling the playing field,” he said of the delegates. “The vast majority of the schools are on board with this plan.”

But larger districts, such as Eugene, Salem-Keizer, and Medford, disagree. They say the change would actually increase travel time and costs.

Pat Latimer, the activities and athletics director for the 17,500-student Eugene district, said that under the new system, students at two of the district’s high schools would travel 340 miles round trip for some of their games. Currently, the maximum round trip is 14 miles, he said.

Mr. Latimer estimates that the district would spend another $70,000 a year in travel costs plus $64,000 now spent. Also, he said, students could miss as many as 15 class periods because of extended travel times under the new system.

Officials of the districts and the OSAA met several times over the past few weeks—including an eight-hour hearing with their lawyers at the state education department—to seek a compromise. They failed to do so, and the parties gave their final arguments in writing to the department on May 15.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo has 30 days to make a decision, though a spokesman for the department said she’s expected to decide before then. Both sides, however, say that if they don’t like her decision, they may go to the Oregon Court of Appeals to plead their cases.

“To use enrollment as the only [criterion] for competitive balance is over-simplification,” Mr. Latimer said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 24, 2006 edition of Education Week


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Social-Emotional Learning and the Perils of Teaching as Therapy
SEL risks overburdening teachers with responsibilities they aren’t trained for, compromising their ability to build academic skills.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning: How to Get There
Bringing culturally responsive SEL into class can't be done as an add-on. It needs to be integrated into daily routines and academic work.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Student Well-Being Fewer Teens Appear to Be Vaping. How Schools Can Keep the Momentum
A handful of studies suggest that adolescent e-cigarette use dropped substantially during the pandemic.
7 min read
Image of E-cigarettes for vaping. Popular vape devices
Nijat Nasibli/iStock
Student Well-Being Quiz How Much Do You Know About the Needs of the Whole Child?
Answer 7 questions to see how much you know about the needs of the whole child.