A meeting next Tuesday involving all three Spokane Valley school districts will be to work toward resolution of an athletic conflict for ninth-graders in the Central Valley School District.
“We are looking at five options,” said Horizon Junior High Principal Glenna Smith. “After we have worked through them, we will come up with a better solution than what we have right now.”
As it is now, the CV ninth-graders must choose between playing junior high basketball and missing half the high school spring athletic season in which they are eligible to participate, or bagging basketball altogether.
CV Superintendent Dick Sovde explained that any modification of the current schedule must take into account its impact on the West Valley and East Valley schools.
“We will each look at what the options are, examine them within our own needs and see where we possibly can make adjustments and help each other,” he said.
Currently the junior high basketball season is broken into two sessions. This year the ninth-, eighth- and seventh-grade girls played from Jan. 2 through Feb. 14.
That was followed by the boys leagues, which conclude on March 30.
By then Greater Spokane League soccer, track and golf in which ninth-graders participate will be well under way.
The high school spring sports practices began Feb. 27, and first contests are as early as March 13.
“By the time the boys finish basketball at the junior high and (get their required practices in at) the high school, they will not be able to participate until approximately April 15,” said Cheryl Schwahn, who spoke at a recent CV board meeting and is the parent ninth-grader affected by the situation.
She was one of 350 people who signed a proposal that would combine the ninth-grade boys and girls seasons in the first session. Most of the younger grades would play later.
The athletic conflict is part of the ongoing district dialogue concerning whether ninth-graders should move into the high school for a variety of reasons.
CV is one of only two area districts that don’t have ninthgraders in the high school. East Valley and West Valley freshmen are already there.
“My best sense is, yeah, ninthgraders belong in the high schools, where they would have Greater Spokane League programs,” said Smith. “But the cost is in the numbers who participate.
“That’s our concern, especially with the midlevel philosophy of keeping them participating as much as they can.”
She and Sovde don’t see ninthgraders moving in the foreseeable future.
“No matter which way you turn, someone, somewhere will not be satisfied with the result,” Sovde said. “All this a product of ninthgraders being part of the junior high and the fact we are unable to create a 9-12 high school because we can’t house them without modifying our schedule.
“And it is a desire on the part of parents to get kids into competitive athletics as quickly as they can.”
In view of the failure of the last four CV bond issues, a move of ninth-graders into the high schools could mean double-shifting or necessitate purchasing portable classrooms, he said.
“There is nothing in the hopper about plans to propose a bond to expand the high schools or build a third,” said Sovde. “Double shifts are a short-term solution.”
So too will be the ultimate result of next week’s meeting to help resolve CV’s ninth-grade sports dilemma.
But it’s the easiest issue to address.
MEMO: This is a sidebar that appeared with the story: Coming up Today Basketball: Lamb Weston East Tournament concludes in TriCities. Excell Foods Frontier League tournament concludes at Eastern Washington University. Wednesday Basketball: State AAA Tournament begins for boys and girls in the Kingdome. State AA Tournament begins in the Tacoma Dome.