Falls City dissolves co-op with KVCS

FALLS CITY — The Falls City School Board voted Feb. 21 to dissolve its athletics co-op with Kings Valley Charter School starting in the 2017-18 school year.

That decision followed the Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board’s Feb. 13 vote to deny the request for Falls City/KVCS to play at the 1A level instead of 2A.

Falls City Athletic Director Dennis Sickles said Falls City and Kings Valley officials presented the case to remain at 1A for the 2017-18 school year on Feb. 13. He said the board heard the appeal, but voted 8 to 3 against the request.

By dissolving the co-op, Falls City will be able to compete at 1A for the 2017-18 season. The decision does not affect the wrestling co-op Falls City has with Willamina.

The issue began in November, when OSAA sent a letter to both schools saying that based on enrollment numbers, the co-op exceeded the limit to compete at the 1A level.

At the time, high schools at Falls City and Kings Valley had a combined enrollment of 109 (60 at Falls City and 49 at Kings Valley). The OSAA adjusts enrollment numbers to account for students considered in poverty, bringing the number down to 96. The cutoff for 1A classification is 89.

Sickles said he isn’t concerned about Falls City being able to field teams next year. He is worried about the size of those teams.

This year, half or more of the players on the volleyball and girls’ basketball teams were Kings Valley students. Football and boys’ basketball had three and four Kings Valley players, respectively.

“We will have enough athletes to fill all of our teams,” Sickles said. “Basically, we’re losing quite a bit of depth.”

Sickles said he is disappointed to have to end the co-op.

“It is too bad. It was a really a good arrangement with Kings Valley,” he said. “It worked out well for both schools.”

Kings Valley Director Jamon Ellingson said the charter school is considering its options for its student athletes.

"One option is for students to play sports in their home districts," he said. "This is not always ideal as kids often times like to play sports with their classmates. The other is to create co-ops as needed."

He said Philomath School District has been open to the idea of co-ops. KVCS also may decide to create its own teams, but may be limited with facilities.

The OSAA will issue a decision regarding redistricting for the 2018-19 school year later this year.

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