The Emerson-Hubbard board of education didn’t arrive at a decision quickly or easily, but after five votes at their February meeting Monday a direction for their future athletics was made.
They will be talking to Allen.
The E-H board had dialogues about co-oping sports with Allen, Homer, Pender and Wakefield starting next school year ahead of the vote.
A motion to co-op only in high school girls basketball with Allen failed for a lack of a second. A motion to co-op all sports with Allen did not pass, 3-3. Another to co-op in all sports with Pender failed, 4-2. Yet another to make no changes and remain as is did not pass, 3-3.
And, finally, a second motion to co-op with Allen in all sports passed by a 5-1 margin.
Now that Allen has been chosen, further discussions with that district will take place to see if an agreement can be made that suits both districts. If not, E-H superintendent Lindsey Burback said the process may need to return to other schools.
“I’ve been appreciative of all the schools for their willingness to sit down and discuss this. They’ve all been very open and honest with us,” Burback said.
Pender has cooperated with E-H in several sports in recent years, including most junior high activities at one time or another, the
E-H-P Raptors high school track team and the TC Thunder baseball team, which includes Pender, E-H, Bancroft-Rosalie and Lyons.
The Raptors and Thunder will be competing this spring as planned. Burback said that even if Allen is willing to work together in all sports, E-H would like to remain part of the Thunder baseball co-op.
Of the current cooperations with E-H, Pender superintendent Jason Dolliver said that the most crucial to PPS is junior high football, where numbers are projected to be in the single digits each of the next two years if Pender goes it alone.
“That is our biggest need, and we’ll be looking to resolve that issue whether that’s with a current partner or someone different,” Dolliver said.
Dolliver also said that if E-H would want to continue to be part of the Thunder baseball team, that would be agreeable to PPS. The Nebraska School Activities Association allows up to four schools to co-op in a sport, so it would not be possible to include Allen students on the Thunder team.
There is plenty of time to sort that out as the schools have until Jan. 1, 2019 to formalize their baseball agreement.