Football to start
By J.R. SPARKE
WOODBINE — Starting with the 2013-14 school term, high school athletes at Hope and White City will compete in volleyball and basketball as members of combined Rural Vista teams. A combined football program is schedule to kick off the following year. Both schools will maintain separate track teams.
The decision to combine athletic programs was made by the Rural Vista Unified School District Board of Education during a special-called meeting convened Wednesday night at the former Woodbine school gymnasium.
The vote approving the action was not unanimous, however. Duane Blythe of White City opposed his six fellow board members on the motion to combine athletic programs at the districts two high schools. Voting in favor of the motion were: Jim Barten and Casey Riedy, both of Woodbine; Esther Dillon, Larry Goracke and Vicki Gruber, all of Hope; and Theresa McCreath, White City.
Blythe said he favored an option which would have had Hope high girls compete as White City high athletes and the combining of Hope and White City junior high boys and girls teams in all sports.
Several patrons from Hope and White City, plus school staff and a coach, spoke during the meeting prior to the board voting on the matter.
And although reservations were expressed about the option approved and others, which were considered by the board, the speakers and the board members were in general agreement that the youth involved needed to be the top priority.
It also was noted that for the plan to succeed there needs to be 100 percent support from the communities involved to help ensure the future of both high schools.
Among the other options considered by the Rural Vista board involved Hope high girls competing as members of a WCHS team, combining Hope sports with Centre high sports in an adjacent school district and combining Hope sports with Herington high sports, also in a neighboring school district.
Dillon said she seriously considered the Centre high option.
During the meeting, it was mentioned the athletic directors at both Centre and Herington had contacted the Hope athletic director to express their interest in Hope athletes participating in programs at their schools.
But it was the option that was approved by the board, which bubbled its way to the top during the public forum and subsequent board discussion.
Nearly 70 persons attended the hour-long session.
Board members also heard public comments during forums held late last year at Hope and White City.
Although combining the Hope and White City high school athletic programs was approved by the board, the details still need to be worked out.
Among those details are practice and game sites and schedules.
Further discussion on the matter is expected when the board next convenes for a regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 11, at Hope.