OPINION: Time to look at SDHSAAThe last few years shows the SDHSAA has little concern for the needs of its member schools and the taxpayer supported high school activities in this state.
By: Editorial board, Watertown Public Opinion
Brandon Valley made the decision for Watertown recently when it came to deciding which classification in football the schools will compete in next fall. Brandon Valley decided to move to the new Class 11AAA which means Watertown should be able to stay in Class 11AA.
The S.D. High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) is adding a third classification in football for the state’s largest schools.
The SDHSAA wants eight teams in AAA, meaning three spots need to be filled beyond the five largest schools — three in Sioux Falls and two in Rapid City. Aberdeen Central is the next largest school, so it is in, followed by Watertown and Brandon Valley.
However, S.F. O’Gorman has said it wants to join Class AAA. That means one of the eight could move down. Brandon Valley, a fast growing Sioux Falls suburb, had the first choice to move or stay, and they opted to stay. Their decision makes Watertown’s petition to stay in Class AA null and void. There is now a spot for Watertown in the lower division.
Watertown has been consistent from the get-go that it wants no part of the larger classification at this time.
The reasons are many. But this decision (adding a seventh FB class in South Dakota) is just the latest move by the SDHSAA that concerns the Watertown School Board.
This editorial board feels the same. The last few years shows the SDHSAA has little concern for the needs of its member schools and the taxpayer supported high school activities in this state.
There is a disconnect of the SDHSAA from its publicly funded member schools. Simply put, the SDHSAA is out of control. It’s a profit-generating machine whose sole goal is to make money.
That flies in the face of the goals of our publicly funded education system in South Dakota and what they intend to do with and for our children.
From forming a seventh mandatory division for football (in a state where there are only 810,000 people?), to advancing a plan to move all state tournaments to Sioux Falls, to amassing a large fund reserve from its ever-increasing privatization of public school — taxpayer supported — events ... someone, anyone, needs to examine this organization and get it and its money back under public control.
Why not make the SDHSAA a part of the state department of education, and thereby get legislative control over this agency?
Why not use the large excess fund reserve to help fill shortfalls in annual education funding? And there are many more questions to be asked, that as currently constructed, will never be examined or discussed by the SDHSAA.
It’s time for the legislature to examine and get up-to-date on the SDHSAA. Their rogue ways of the past decade need to change. We hope it’s a priority in 2013.
This editorial is reprinted by permission from the Dec. 12 issue of the Public Opinion.