BURLINGTON — In its regular monthly meeting Monday night, Region 10’s Board of Education stood firm on its March 14 decision to move Lewis Mills High School athletics to the Central Connecticut Conference and out of the Berkshire League.
Board Chairman Tom Fausel led a review of the board’s decision in the wake of a March 21 public forum in which students, parents and coaches presented arguments, facts and petitions for staying in the BL.
On Monday, Fausel and other board members repeated many of the findings that led them to their original decision.
“We looked at it for 15 months and this is what we came up with after working diligently on the question,” Fausel said. “We’re looking at the long-range benefits five, 10 years from now. Is the group opposed looking beyond two, three years?”
The board’s four-member study committee found the Berkshire League is in decline, thanks to shrinking member school populations, depriving a growing Mills population of JV competition, along with the possibility that merging schools may reduce the BL’s membership from nine to six schools.
Mills Principal Chris Rau preceded the discussion with a suggestion that the school conduct a poll of students and parents in grades 7-11 (those affected by the move in 2019-20) in September.
“I’m in favor of the move, but I’m incredibly impressed with our students stepping up to lead the objections,” he said. “My role is not to move against two-thirds of the school population. If the poll finds 65 percent of the people opposed to the move, then the board could vote to rescind the move. If it’s less, we would move forward to the CCC.”
Board member Brooke Joiner was the only member in favor of the suggestion.
“I’m troubled with the discrepancies between the board’s original information and the information we got at the forum,” she said.
Other members felt a poll at this point would simply reflect emotions voters have been led to by forum speakers.
Meanwhile, CCC athletic directors and principals voted unanimously for the admission of the Spartans into a five-team CCC division last week.
With no further action expected by the Region 10 Board, that decision will stand.