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Sports merger looks more like annexation

August 1, 2012
The Leader Herald

Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School will have a Board of Education meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the school. I urge players, parents and community members to attend.

It has been brought to my attention that the OECS board is voting to approve the sports merger with St. Johnsville under the following conditions: one athletic director from St. Johnsville with St. Johnsville coaches; and all games will be played at St. Johnsville, while wearing St. Johnsville colors.

I'm sure this is not what anyone thought a sports merger should look like. It seems more like an annexation. During the last sports merger with St. Johnsville, the newly formed teams were often called St. Joe's. During the last sports merger with St. Johnsville, players performed wearing both school's uniform colors and on both schools' fields. Coaches were hired from both districts with both athletic directors running the combined program together. Why can't it be that way, with both schools working together? Please ask yourself if this is what our players want.

With that being said, Dolgeville offered more sports opportunities for our students (football, track, and wrestling) and without the harsh terms. OECS has a fall sports schedule set in place already, potential coaches lined up and fields to play on. Let me also mention that we currently have a player who has been practicing football with Dolgeville for several weeks now, a player who has wrestled with Dolgeville for years, and athletes who recently joined Dolgeville's track team this past spring. What happens to these athletes? Is anyone thinking of them? What about our athletic director (this position was not cut by the budget)? Both the Superintendent and Athletic Director of OECS recommend the Board of Education vote to share sports with Dolgeville. Why is the Board of Education not taking their recommendation? Why would the OECS board vote for a sports merger that is more like an annexation? Why would they want to relinquish all control over our players? St. Johnsville dropped the last sports merger immediately after the merger vote was defeated and was not interested in sharing sports again until after Dolgeville approached OECS for a share several months ago.

Wake up OECS board members. Think about our players, our school, our community, the Oppenheim-Ephratah Hawks. Please come to the board meeting Thursday to voice your concerns; they need to be heard.


St. Johnsville



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