Both the Van-Far and Community R-VI School Boards agreed to continue the cooperative football agreement for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons after measures were approved last week during each district’s monthly meeting.
There had been some speculation by patrons in both districts that a change could be coming to the cooperative program, which could include Van-Far dropping the partnership all together.
There were a lot of productive discussions held in both school district meetings but they led to an unanimous vote to once again approve the partnership.
During the Community R-VI board meeting, it was noted that some players from their district are now participating in the much younger programs, which will only benefit the cooperative program in the near future.
This past season, there were five middle school and five high players representing Community R-VI.
Community R-VI Secondary Principal Bob Curtis told the board that he’d like to see his district have a more prominent part of the uniform or more in the colors.
“They put four years in, a lot of sweat, blood,” he said. “…And for me, I think it’s been healthy. I think our kids are in a much better place than they were six years ago but I think it’s time to be a co-op.”
It was noted that some decals were ordered with red feathers for the football helmets but the order came in wrong. According to Community R-VI Superintendent Cheryl Mack, a decision was made by Van-Far to not use the decals.
Principal Curtis noted that he liked some of the ideas that came from a Van-Far board member a few years ago. Those ideas included hosting a possible scrimmage or Powder Puff game under the lights at Community R-VI.
It was reported that in a Monday meeting ideas like allowing R-VI to host a special football gathering was a good idea.
“I think we have some boys here, that with that change, we may go from five kids to 10 kids,” Principal Curtis noted.
The Community R-VI board then unanimously voted to approve the cooperative agreement.
During the Van-Far R-I School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter led the discussion before the Van-Far board unanimously approved the measure. He talked about the first year he saw football in the district and the team only having a couple of kids on the sideline during a Jamboree at Monroe City. He also noted that there were only 11 players who played the entire game during the final game of that season.
He talked on the improvement in the program for numbers and its ability to move on from a 27-game losing streak.
It was mentioned that the Indians, if they had went back to Class 1, they would still have the same schedule but just a different district.
Van-Far board member Kevin Motley said that after the co-op started, the program started to win games. Van-Far board member Dana Keller asked several questions.
Before the vote was official, Keller asked if it was worth it to enter the co-op for just five kids putting the team in a district in which it is “over our heads” in competing against much tougher opponents. She noted a risk of injury involved.
Van-Far/Community R-VI head coach Kevin Baldwin said everything Keller said was valid but the concern is the trend of Van-Far student enrollment, which is going downward.
It was noted that no matter the class size, the schedule wouldn’t change before districts due to the EMO Conference schedule.
A major concern is still the continual decline in enrollment. Baldwin said when he makes comments on the co-op he describes it as healthy.
“The reason its healthy is that they may not be attributing a lot in quantity, but they are contributing in quality,” he said. “The athletes we do get from them are pretty good athletes.”
Baldwin said extremely healthy would be the program getting four to five kids from every Community R-VI class. Keller also noted that the junior-high team has just one 8th grader from Community R-VI moving up to the high school team next year.
Baldwin said out of 11 starting offensive players next year, he said likely four of them will be from Community R-VI.
“We’re better with them right now than we are without them,” Baldwin noted of the contribution from the Community R-VI players. Van-Far teacher Angie Morris said she knows of a handful of players who would like to play at Community R-VI but transportation is a problem for their parents.