The South Nodaway Board of Education concurred that no action would be taken to co-op varsity basketball for the 2017-18 school year, but that the discussion would continue about a future Platte Valley basketball co-op with Jefferson.
SN held a public comment session on January 18 with over 50 patrons attending about the possibility of extending the Platte Valley athletic co-op with Jefferson to include varsity boys and girls basketball.
The two schools as Platte Valley are co-oping all sports except for the varsity basketball teams. Superintendent Johnny Silkett explained the history of the co-op and the fact that the junior high boys and girls basketball teams were co-oped for the first time this school year.
Silkett also presented projected enrollment for both the schools through the 2021-22 school years with estimated student athlete numbers. Both categories for both schools show a steady decline in numbers.
Parents and students spoke and asked questions. Concerns included would the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) approve the joining of two ranked girls programs? It was explained that first each school board would need to approve, then MSHSAA would be petitioned. There is no 100 percent guarantee of approval.
Concern was also expressed that the school identity would be lost. Both Jefferson and SN have been petitioning MSHSAA to label the co-op sports in district and state events as Platte Valley, rather than the hosting school. So far, this has been to no avail.
Another parent expressed the concern that although the co-op would provide opportunities for the students to participate in the sports, that by having more numbers, the student athlete would have less playing time. The SN administration is hoping that junior varsity teams can be formed, which would allow more playing time and opportunities. At this point, there are opportunities for JV games that SN can not take advantage of because of low numbers.
Student feedback included a softball player who stated that it “feels like we’re giving up.” She wants to fight to keep the program at SN even though the numbers were not there for the fall 2016 team and the girls played on the Platte Valley Eagles team.
A parent responded that her eight-year-old daughter is not interested in sports and she doesn’t want to see her pressured into playing when her daughter reaches junior high and high school.
Another parent expressed that it wasn’t about what the parents want, but about their children’s future and what was best for them.
A student stated that on the co-op teams, he doesn’t look at the players as being SN or Jefferson, but as teammates and just one team. Home for him is where the parents and community come to support the team, so it doesn’t matter where the games are played.
“If you don’t have activities, you will see the school clear out fast,” Silkett said on the importance of athletics for students.
Following the public comment session, the school board conducted the following business:
• SN will have a resource officer now as county Deputy Rick Smail will conduct DARE sessions and then stay for the morning.
• The first reading of the 2017-18 school calendar was held with approval to be in February.
• Approved seeking bids for the construction of the Guilford Sports Facility baseball field, including the infield and outfield. The fencing and lighting will be bid at a future date.
• After coming out of closed session, the board approved extending Silkett’s contract for another year.