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The West Aurora School Board is expected to make a decision by early December on whether to accept an invitation to join the Upstate Eight Conference for the 2014-15 school year.
The conference extended the invitation to West Aurora and two other schools as part of a move that would expand the Upstate Eight from 14 to 16 schools by the 2014-15 school year. West, which now is in the DuPage Valley Conference, may need to make a decision whether to accept the invitation as soon as its next board meeting on Dec. 3, according to West High Principal Ross Truemper.
Consideration to leave the DuPage Valley Conference was not taken lightly, athletic director Jason Buckley said. They have conducted extensive surveys, and a large part of the coaching staff is in favor of the move.
“This was not done as a knee-jerk reaction to one or two programs,” he said.
Coaches within the district are in favor of a move to the Upstate Eight, officials said.
Coaches were surveyed about the move, and divided into categories for their level of seniority within the district. About 80 percent of the coaches with 11 to 15 years of seniority felt that a move to the Upstate Eight could benefit their programs. More than half the coaches with 16 plus years of seniority also felt the move would benefit their programs.
West Aurora was a charter member of the Upstate Eight in 1963. The district left the Upstate Eight after the 1996-1997 school year, and joined the DVC for the 1997-98 school year.
School Board President Neal Ormond said there are ramifications to the taxpayers in the district that need to be looked at. For instance, the Upstate Eight plays more weekday basketball games, and there could be a potential revenue drop hosting more weekday games than weekend games.
There also could be a financial impact when the district needs to transport a freshman team to a different location than where the varsity team would be going, he said.
“These are some of the implications we have to look at,” he said.
At a meeting earlier in November, Ormond suggested discussing the potential of starting a new conference.
Buckley said that most of the schools that West would talk with in that process will be locked into a contract with either the DuPage Valley Conference or the Upstate Eight for the next two to three years.
West Chicago was invited to fill a vacancy in the Upstate Eight for the 2013-14 school year. West Aurora and Glenbard East have been invited into the conference for the 2014-15 school year.