Students at Youngsville High School are closer to being able to play soccer this fall.
On Monday, the Personnel/Athletics and Co-Curricular Committee of the Warren County School District board of directors approved a cooperative agreement between Youngsville and Eisenhower Middle High School that would allow male and female students to play soccer at Eisenhower as soon as this fall. The measure was subsequently passed by the board during a special meeting also held on Monday.
Acting Superintendent Amy Stewart remarked that this was an "interesting topic that has gone on for quite some time." She explained that a committee was convened with representatives from both schools, administration, parents and athletic personnel "just to try to capture the positives and the negatives of each side of this."
"I believe we have done that. Everyone has represented their side fairly," she explained. "We did survey kids. There is a definite interest from boys and girls (at Youngsville) to enter into cooperative agreements at Eisenhower."
While board passage is an important step, more has to happen before students can be sure they can participate this fall.
Supervisor of District-Wide Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Jim Miller said that the building principals must form list of students who want to participate in the co-op, receive board approval via a resolution and then submit the documentation to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 10 for final approval.
But District 10 approval is likely.
"(The cooperative agreement is) not going to change classification at all," Miller said, noting that Eisenhower will remain a class A program even with the agreement. "(I) see no issue because nothing is really changing."
Stewart said that current district athletic funding is allocated based on participation. "The co-op does not benefit Youngsville High School," she said, citing her notes from the committee meeting. "In terms of the school, the soccer program at Eisenhower did not kill their football program." She said that Youngsville will lose athletic funding but "not a significant amount of money."
"There will be some fall out at YHS," she acknowledged. "(This is) probably the first of many (co-ops) we'll see. That's probably where we're headed."
One of the more influential arguments, she explained, was that the district allows students to take courses at other schools that are not offered at their home school. Following the logic, athletics should work the same way.
She also noted that no programs have been lost due to attrition.
"Girls volleyball and cross country would probably be harder hit than football. Fundraising during this third year (of decreased athletic funding)... is expected to be difficult," she said. "Administration is prepared to go forward (with the co-op)."