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Patience necessary for long, short term for Upstate Eight

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 5:31 a.m. CDT

Patience is being required regarding the potential additions of Glenbard East and West Aurora to the Upstate Eight Conference – both in the short term and the long term.

Glenbard East principal Josh Chambers originally hoped Glenbard East’s school board would be able to consider the UEC’s invitation to join by the end of January but he said Monday that the board is now expected to consider the move at its Feb. 11 meeting.

The fates of Glenbard East and West Aurora are seemingly tied together as the UEC wants to maintain an even number of schools. West Aurora’s board already has authorized the school to make the move from the DuPage Valley Conference.

Both schools, though, would not be able to join until the 2015-16 school year after the DVC board of control recently voted that the current school year does not count as one of the two years’ notice that must be given for exiting schools.

Despite that decision, Chambers said that Glenbard East is “still proceeding on the same trajectory that we were,” which included another meeting to solicit feedback from parents last week.

The main concern raised has been increased travel compared to the DVC.

Chambers said travel distances would be roughly 50 percent more for Glenbard East in the Upstate Eight compared to the DVC, depending on how the UEC’s divisions would be reconfigured .

“There are ways you could try and balance out some of that travel,” Chambers said. “Obviously at the end of the day it is farther away but we also know right now we’re in kind of an enviable [situation] where we have it really close, and a lot of conferences are not as closely packed as we currently are.”

West Chicago is slated to fill the spot of DVC-bound Lake Park next year in the UEC, replenishing the conference to 12 schools. The potential additions of West Aurora and Glenbard East could turn the UEC into a 14-team conference, provided there are no other corresponding arrivals or departures.

Chambers said he understands the DVC’s reluctance to allow schools to leave without a full two years’ notice given the scheduling challenges that would arise, especially for football.

Wheaton Warrenville South principal Dave Claypool said in an email that a DVC committee met last week to discuss a process for replacing exiting schools. Claypool added that the conference has clarified its bylaws to count a school year as one of the two years of required notice only if notification of a school’s intent to depart is given by Dec. 1.

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