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December 16, 2018

Emerson-Hubbard finds odds with Allen, Pender school district asked to take another look at co-op
Jason Sturek

The Emerson-Hubbard school district’s stated need to work with a neighboring school on athletics cooperation took a new turn last week when it couldn’t come to terms with Allen Consolidated Schools on that endeavor.

E-H’s desire to cooperate in every sport starting next year couldn’t be met by Allen, which indicated it preferred to wait a couple of years on boys basketball.

An open meeting last Tuesday of the E-H school board saw support shift toward Pender Public Schools, a district that it already has worked with for seven years on various cooperative efforts in activities and academics at the junior high and high school levels.

The districts currently have high school co-ops in track and field and baseball, both of which have seasons now starting practice. The two schools also cooperated in junior high football this season.

Pender’s school board will be discussing the possibility at its regular March meeting on Monday night, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. It will not be an action item at the meeting— no decision will be made either way — but members of the public are welcomed to attend to learn about the options and voice concerns or support.

Pender superintendent Jason Dolliver said ahead of Monday’s meeting that it’s important that Pender takes its time to understand what E-H needs and pair that with what Pender and its district patrons want.

There have already been some questions asked of students and athletics staff at Pender, which is something Activities Director Andy Welsh and the full administrative team will work more on leading up to Monday’s meeting so that as much information can be presented to the public as possible that night.

“We have started that process by talking to our coaches and kids. I don’t think we’ve finished either of those conversations, and now we also want to hear from our community,” Dolliver said.

It is too early to know what the next step would be if the schools would eventually join forces in athletics, but if that comes to pass Dolliver said Monday’s meeting is at the front of that process and not the end.

“One thing we will not do is rush into any decision. We want to listen to what Emerson- Hubbard wants, and then we have to take the time to understand from our own community members if that is the same thing,” Dolliver said.

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