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New league affiliation may be in works for the Pirates

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

Seven years ago, the Platte County R-3 School District left the KCI Conference and became the newest member of the Midland Empire Conference (MEC).

Now, district officials are starting very preliminary discussions about the possibility of leaving the MEC Conference.

According to Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst, in his general comments to the school board last week he mentioned “there may be some interest down the road of exploring that.”

While Harpst said the change in conferences would not happen for at least three years, R-3 could soon be looking at different options to see what would best suit the district.

“It would be at least three years before we would consider it,” said Harpst. “There’s a two year rotation schedule that the state puts out and it doesn’t fit to change schedules until that schedule is determined.

“It is put out by the state every two years. It impacts who you schedule, when you schedule and what conferences you are in.”

According to Harpst, one of the reasons for the possible change in conferences is the continuing growth of the R-3 School District.

“What we’re going to do is investigate. As we grow, things are going to change,” stated Harpst. “We’re starting to become one of the bigger schools in the MEC Conference. We’re going to explore all sorts of different options.”

In 1996, the Pirates began discussions of leaving the KCI Conference, which included such area districts as North Platte and West Platte. Two years later the district joined the MEC Conference.

If R-3 would choose to enter a new conference, Harpst said they would look at schools comparable to the size of the R-3 district in the Kansas City metropolitan area, such as the Suburban Schools Conference.

“The Suburban area would be the closest,” said Harpst.

Harpst stated R-3 could be forced to join a new conference at some point.

“If the state would change our schedule, we may be forced into changing conferences. There is a possibility of that happening,” said Harpst.

Harpst noted that initial consideration of the change has not even included discussions with the district’s staff.

“We have at least two years before we take any official action,” he said. “We would have to be invited and approved by that conference. There’s a lot of leg work and investigation of all the opportunities we would have for the district.

“We’re not unhappy at all with our conference now. However with growth and if the state mandates a conference schedule, we may look at a new conference.”


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