State board of Education asks to meet with OSAA officials

Hood River Valley High School is still in the ballgame to stop a sports redistricting that would lower classroom time and hike transportation costs.

That’s the latest word from Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, who learned on Friday that officials from the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) have been asked to appear before the state Board of Education at Thursday’s meeting in Salem.

“I don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be but last month I asked the board to intervene and the fact that they have taken that recommendation is good news,” said Metsger, who plans to be present at the forum to answer any questions that might arise.

At issue is the OSAA decision to move Hood River from the Mt. Hood Conference next school year into the central- and eastern-Oregon based Intermountain Conference.

That would require HRVHS athletes to make drives of three and four hours to Bend, Redmond, Crook County, Pendleton and Hermiston. The purpose for the action presented by OSAA was that the Intermountain schools needed to add Hood River so that they would have the eight teams necessary to have two playoff berths instead of one.

The school district and Metgser, whose District 26 encompasses Hood River County, have both protested the redistricting because it will add $30,000 in sports program costs and cause students to lose valuable class time. However, the first round was lost earlier this year when an appeal to state hearings officer Michael Reed was overturned.

At that point Metsger decided to take the issue before the board of education, which has the final authority over the issue. He told these officials in April that first priority had to be given to the fiscal, education, parental and community impacts that the OSAA action would have.

Last Friday, Mestger was notified that the board had placed a stop on any final decision from the Secretary of Public Instruction’s office until they had questioned OSAA further about the matter.

“We’re viewing this as something positive since a decision has not been made at this point so we’re still in the game and we’re pleased that the board is taking an interest in our plight,” said Jerry Sessions, superintendent of Hood River schools.

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