Survey says: D-10 coaches, admins in favor of public vs. private changes

Results of a recent survey administered to officials of public schools throughout District 10 were released Tuesday, showing that a majority believe that non-boundary schools have a significant advantage when it comes to athletics and would be in favor of change.

The survey was completed by 190 varsity head coaches, 82 school board members, 35 principals, 24 athletic directors, 23 superintendents and 18 assistant principals.

Warren County had the highest number of voters with 40. Millcreek was second with 25, followed by Fort LeBoeuf (24), General McLane (22), Fairview (22), Crawford County (21), Erie (20), Girard (20) and Iroquois (20).

School districts in Mercer County had by far the lowest turnout.

Among the 365 voters, 354 responded ‘yes’ to the question: ‘I believe schools without geographical boundaries have a competitive advantage over schools with established geographical boundaries.’

When asked if the existing PIAA transfer rule, PIAA By-Law Article VI, Transfer, Residence and Recruiting, is functionally effective in controlling transfers that might result in a competitive advantage 43.3 percent ‘highly disagreed’ and 37.5 ‘disagreed.’

In addition, 338 of the 365 of the coaches and administrators polled said they would be in favor of separate tournaments for schools that have established geographical boundaries and for schools without geographical boundaries.

The survey was not only used to gain perception and feeling among coaches and administrators, but as another data point in which officials can use when they speak to legislators in Harrisburg about potential changes to the system.

The Farrell School District approved a motion to amend PIAA classifications to level the competition arena for public schools at their school board meeting on Monday, with other school districts likely to follow suit.

A similar survey was also conducted in the WPIAL.

The private/charter vs. public debate has been a hot-button issue in the PIAA for a number of years and certainly has been in District 10 recently, with programs like Kennedy Catholic boys basketball and Cathedral Prep football running roughshod over D-10 competition and rolling to state championships in each of the last two years.

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