London City Schools will join the Central Buckeye Conference (CBC) in 2019, despite strident objections by school board member Marv Homan.
On Tuesday, board of education members approved a district move from the Mid-State League (MSL) to the CBC with Homan casting the only “no” vote. Members Ed Maynor, Matt Congleton, Jonathan Stahl and Darryl Brown voted “yes.”
Deadline for making the change is the 2019-20 school year, if not earlier.
In a written statement, Superintendent Lou Kramer and other CBC administrators called the change a “championship opportunity” for London. It called the CBC a stable conference with a tradition of excellence. And because most districts in the conference fall in the Honda employment aura, there will be opportunities for work rivalries and corporate partnerships.
But Homan said geography and the distance between London and many CBC schools is a problem.
“It’s not any easier to get to Bellefontaine than it is to Worthington Christian, an MSL school,” Homan said.
And while MSL school events are covered by the Dispatch and other Columbus media, most CBC schools only receive attention from the Springfield News-Sun, he added.
“We are going into a forgotten conference,” Homan said. “It’s not the best move for London.”
He also noted London’s recent history of hopping from one athletic conference to another.
“We need to stay in one league,” Homan argued.
Board member Maynor agreed that London has been in six leagues during the last 32 years and longevity will help win more games. However, he said improvement will only come from within.
“As our programs develop, we will succeed, regardless of conference,” Maynor said.
He also noted that London may continue to play Columbus-area schools in non-conference competitions.
North Union Local Schools will also join the CBC in coming years, making it a 12-team conference with two, six-team divisions. London will fall into the Kenton Trail Division along with Jonathan Alder, Bellefontaine, Springfield Shawnee, Kenton Ridge and Tecumseh.
North Union, Benjamin Logan, Indian Lake, Urbana, St. Paris Graham and Springfield Northwestern will make up the Mad River Division.
Kramer said athletic directors from all districts, students, faculty and community members were consulted regarding the move.
Also on Tuesday, board members approved a contract with the district’s classified employees, providing 1 percent raises this year and next year. Pay will be up for re-negotiation in 2019.
In other routine meeting business on Tuesday, board members:
• Approved a new middle school grading scale to mesh with the high school scale.
• Approved an easement with Columbia Gas of Ohio to install a gas pipeline serving the middle and high school buildings.
Jane Beathard is a contributing writer for The Madison Press.