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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Skyline Board favors league expansion

  • Medicine Lodge asks to join Heart of the Plains League.
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  • Medicine Lodge could become the newest member of the Heart of the Plains League.
    The Skyline Board of Education voted they would favor bringing Medicine Lodge into the league at their regular monthly Board meeting Monday night.
    A final decision on admitting Medicine Lodge will be made at the HOPL league meeting on Jan. 9, said Skyline Superintendent Mike Sanders.
    It will take a yes vote from seven of the 10 league schools to add another USD to the league. The HOPL members are Skyline, Attica, Burrton, Central Christian, Cunningham, Fairfield, Norwich, Pretty Prairie, South Barber and Stafford.
    Medicine Lodge is facing a declining enrollment. The middle school football team is dropping to an eight-man format. Currently, Skyline has more students in the seventh and eighth grade then Medicine Lodge, Sanders said.
    The district wants to remain competitive. With the growth of other schools in their district, Medicine Lodge approached HOPL about joining the league.
    If Medicine Lodge joins HOPL it would make 11 teams in the league. That would mean the league might for another district to join to keep the league at an even number.
    If HOPL approves the addition, it would take affect in the 2014-2015 school year, Sanders said.
    If HOPL denies the addition, Medicine Lodge could petition the Kansas State High School Activities Association and KSHSSA could put them in HOPL anyway.
    Adding Medicine Lodge would mean some very long driving distances so the league would probably be split in two with either a north-south or east-west format to cut down on long drives, said Skyline High School Principal Herb McPherson.
    Wherever Medicine Lodge would fit in that format, they would have lots of support from their patrons.
    "Medicine has a big fan following," McPherson said.
    While the final vote on adding Medicine Lodge is unknown, the return of forensics to the Skyline curriculum is a sure thing.
    Several students have expressed an interest in reviving the forensics program at Skyline after was dropped several years ago.
    Eight students have indicated they want to revive the program and are willing to do what needs to be done to make the program work, Sanders said.
    Marla Stark will be in charge of the program.
    Joining Forensics as a new challenge for students is a band trip to Orlando, Fla. to Disney World. Band students in grades eight to juniors are already raising money for a trip in the 2013-2014 school year. Students are selling candy and will have other fund raising projects. Total estimated cost would be around $32,000
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