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Castillo upholds OSAA redistricting plan Print E-mail

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) redistricting plan was upheld today by Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo.

In her final order on the matter, Castillo found that the OSAA did not violate state or federal laws, rules of the Department of Education or its own rules in a way that would have changed the outcome of its decision to adopt a six-classification system for high school athletics.


Eugene School District announced earlier this week it plans to appeal this finding into the courts. Salem School District meets Tuesday to determine the direction it will go. We were unable to reach Medford School District on its plans. The three districts had appealed earlier. 

Here's a copy of the press information provided by Castillo's office on the controversy: 

FINAL ORDER:  It is hereby ordered that Oregon School Activities Association did not violate state or federal laws, rules of the Department of Education, or its own rules in a manner that would have changed the outcome when it adopted a six classification system for high school athletics and assigned high schools to athletic districts, including “play up” and “play down” decisions, based on that classification system for the 2006-10 school years.

STATEMENT:  As the Superintendent of Public Instruction, I took an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon.  I swore that I would faithfully discharge my duties to the best of my ability.  OSAA is a voluntary organization whose members have given it the authority to govern Oregon athletics and that authority is recognized under Oregon state law and Oregon administrative rule. 

In this case, my actions have been strictly limited by those laws and rules, and I find that I have no basis to rule against the OSAA classification and redistricting on the facts of the case.  My hands are tied.

Given the evidence presented in the appeal by Eugene, Salem-Keizer and Medford, it is clear that there are real concerns for student safety and loss of instructional time.  To me, these issues outweigh benefits gained from competitive balance.  However, the law does not see it that way.  The law – as currently written -- does not distinguish between the relative weights of the criteria.

School athletics are an important part of student life; however, I am committed to making changes in state law that will ensure our students are safe and getting the instructional hours they need in order to be successful. 

As the Superintendent of Public Instruction, I will introduce legislation in the coming session to prioritize the criteria under which classification and redistricting is done, putting student safety and academic achievement in ranked order ahead of all other criteria. 

Please share your comments on the controversy and on Castillo's decision:

Comments (5)Add Comment
Principal, South Albany High School
written by J. Chris Equinoa, June 09, 2006
I am thrilled that the Superintendent has seen fit to uphold what has been the right course of action for almost two years by the OSAA.

I am amazed that she would even think that student safety and student instructional time were not equal points of discussion in this process. For her to point to these two areas and insinuate that they were not considerations, is a slap in the face to the OSAA Executive Committe, the Delegate Assembly and the Redistricting Committee.

Supt. Castillo should check the pre-season schedules of the Medford, Salem and Eugene Schools and ask them to explain their current loss of instructional time, and lack of concern for safety of their students in their current schedules. Having seen those schedules, I would ask the Superintendent to defend how traveling to a non-league game (loss of instructional time and safety traveling to Portland, Redmond and Ashland)is any different than traveling for a league contest.

Congratulations to the OSAA. The rights of the many have been upheld.
written by Brody L. Guthire, June 09, 2006
I am sure the OSAA did what is right for the state. Thanks for standing by them.
Response by Tom Welter, OSAA Executive D
written by Tom Welter, June 09, 2006
We are, obviously, very pleased that the State Superintendent has ruled that the six classification system does not violate any laws or rules and may be implemented beginning the 2006-07 school year.

We are very appreciative to all school Superintendents, Principals and Athletic Directors who have worked hard over the last two years to develop this proposal and we appreciate their patience throughout this lengthy process.

We felt all along that the process was a fair, thorough and democratic one and the end result has been overwhelmingly supported by the vast majority of our member schools.

As professional educators, the health and safety of students in our schools is our highest priority. We feel that the co-curricular activities that are sponsored by the Association enhance the academic mission of our member schools. We look forward to implementing the six classification system this fall that will provide better competitive equity for our 287 member schools.
Castillo seems misguided
written by Parent, June 10, 2006
In the press release explaining Susan Castillo's upholding of the OSAA redistricting plan, Ms. Castillo makes statements that there are "real concerns for student safety." She also states that this is one of several concerns that "outweigh benefits gained from competitive balance."

I can only assume the "safety" issue she is referring to is mostly in the form of late-night travel for students. But the fact is, the new redistricting plan seeks to REDUCE this late-night travel for most schools around the state. Yes, unfortunately some schools will see their travel increase. But, that travel will be predominantly via interstate highways-- far safer than a rainy, windy highway 101!

For DECADES, schools in eastern Oregon, and along the Oregon coast have been traveling far greater distances for athletic competition, year-in and year-out.

So why is this "safety" issue suddenly a priority for Ms. Castillo NOW? It seems to have become a concern to her only because a few schools have complained about additional travel (on an interstate highway, no less!)

Where has Ms. Castillo's "concern" on this isse been for all the years leading up to now? This is not a new issue. This is a long-standing issue which the new redistricting plan actually helps RESOLVE. Not completely, but it certianly helps.

Congratulations to everyone who worked hard to come up with a plan that was met with overwhelming acceptance among the OSAA's members.
OSAA inconsistent
written by Bill Smith, June 12, 2006
I really have only two problems with the OSAA redistricting plan. First is that in the PIL schools were allowed to petition to "play up" and this was granted - keeping the PIL together. When Midwestern schools made the same request it was denied. Second the OSAA keeps bleating about "competitive balance" (like you can legislate beauty) and has left Marist high school in the Sky Em league - where by the way they won more league titles by themselves than South Eugene and Sheldon won combined.

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This page was last updated on Friday, June 09, 2006 .