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Department of Education

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Appeal Decisions

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If you have questions contact Nicole Proesch, legal counsel for the Department and the State Board,
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BOOK: 27 
MONTH-YEAR: July - 2014
IN RE: Activities Conference Realignment
APPELLANT: Harmony Community School Districts Petition for Membership into Bluegrass Conference
KEYWORDS: Conference realignment
DETAILS: HCSD is currently    a  member  of  the Southeast  Iowa  Super  Conference [hereinafter "SEISC] since its inception  in 1992.  As a result of declinin  enrollment,  HCSD has smaller team sizes than many of the other schools in SEISC. For the 2014-2015 school years, estimated enrollment for HCSD for grades 9-11 is 53. HCSD has not been competitive in SEISC for several years and as a result, many students choose not to participate in athletics or open enroll out of the district.  HCSD maintains it cannot successfully compete with other schools in SEISC that are larger in size and have more student athletes than HCSD.
  After a showing of overwhelming support from the district and students, in the spring of 2014 HCSD petitioned for membership into BGC. BGCs Board denied HCSDs membership petition.  On April 17, 2014, HCSD filed a Petition with the Department requesting conference realignment for the 2015-2016 school years.
  The Department scheduled a hearing for July 9, 2014, at which time HCSD, BGC, and other interested schools appeared and presented their opinions an testimony regarding the recommendation of the Mediation Team.  The Mediation Teams recommendation was accepted by BGC.  However, HCSD did not accept the recommendation. The parties were each given an opportunity to provide evidence or testimony in support of their perspective positions.
  The Departments past precedent on petitions for athletic realignment is clear. Absent some showing that the mediation team failed to consider one or more factors in the rules and absent some proof that the mediation team was biased, prejudiced, or predisposed, the Department is to implement the teams recommendation.
  The Department agrees with the Mediation Teams recommendation.    In particular,  the Department  finds    that    the  significant  increase  in  travel for  all  teams  in  the  respective conferences, including  HCSD, and the impact  this would  have on schools and students from a financial sense and educational  perspective cannot be ignored. 
OUTCOMES: It is the  decision    of  the  Department  to  affirm  and    adopt    the  June  5,  2014, Recommendation    of the  Mediation  Team.  HCSD shall remain a member of SEISC.    This decision provides HCSD membership into an appropriate conference that is the least disruptive HCSD and to the other schools in BGC.