OSAA assistant executive director Peter Weber discusses the ongoing reclassification process
Next October, the Oregon Schools Activities Association will make a decision about the reclassification of high school sports that could drastically affect the landscape of prep sports in Hillsboro and throughout the state.
The final decision on how to reclassify the OSAA member schools is still months away and whatever decision is made will not take effect until the 2014-15 school year. However, meetings are already in progress to discuss the best plan of action.
This week, the Hillsboro Tribune caught up with OSAA assistant executive director Peter Weber to get a clearer picture of what is happening:
Hillsboro Tribune: At this point, can you say what is likely to happen?
Peter Weber: Its still pretty early, to be honest with you. We sent an update out at the end of last week from the committees meetings last week. At this point, theyre leaning toward six classifications and then its just a matter of continuing to look at cutoff points, league placements, individual school placements, etc. Nothing has been decided, but theyre definitely leaning toward that direction at this point.
Tribune: Can you give us a sense of what it is like inside the meetings where all of this is being decided?
Weber: Theyre open to the public. Basically, what typically happens is we bring in the committee members about an hour before the public meeting and review information that weve received since the last meeting. We go over correspondence and things like that to bring everyone up to speed about what people are telling us.
Then we have the public meeting which can last anywhere from a half hour to four hours depending on how many people want to come and testify and share their opinions. Mainly its member schools, principals, superintendants and athletic directors. We do get a few regular citizens that will come.
We make sure to listen to everybody and then we convene the committee in a work session to review what weve received and figure out what their thinking is at that point and prepare and plan accordingly.
Tribune: Who will be the ultimate decision makers for the reclassification?
Weber: Theres two groups that will vote in whatever the final plan is. The committee will make their recommendation next fall. Then our executive board and our delegate assembly will vote in making changes as they see fit. Typically some of the changes that come out of that, some of them fall to the executive board and others vote to the delegate assembly. Both of those groups will meet on the same day next October and make their decisions.
Tribune: What are some of the things about the current system that the committee would like to change or improve?
Weber: What weve heard from some of our member schools is that they would like to see bigger leagues where possible. Also, the vast majority of our schools would like to see the elimination of our hybrid leagues.
Tribune: There has been talk about taking socio-economic factors into account in the classification system. How real of a possibility is that?
Weber: The committee is in favor of that. Nothing has been finalized, but at this point, theyve come out after the last couple of meetings and said that they are in favor of some type of adjusted ADM (Average Daily Membership) figure. Currently, and the way weve done it forever, is that we get numbers from the Oregon Department of Education, which says how many kids you have in your school.
In terms of the adjusted ADM, wed be looking at adjusting it No. 1 in terms of socio-economic status, and the way were looking at doing that is taking a schools free and reduced lunch program and taking 25 percent of that and reducing their ADM by that 25 percent.
The other piece of that proposal would be to count kids that dont go to your school, but play for your school. For example, we have home school students, we have associate member school students that are eligible to play at their resident public school. You could have kids playing for you who are not counted in your ADM and this proposed adjustment of ADM would take care of that as well.
Tribune: What message would you like to share with the public about this process?
Weber: Its a pretty open process. We get emails almost on a daily basis from schools and non-school personnel with their input. We make sure that all that input gets to every committee member for their review.
We pride ourselves on it being an open process. We know not everybody is going to like whatever decisions are made, but we want everybody to feel like theyve had a chance to voice their opinion.