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Consultant Downplays Private-Public Issue : Prep sports: Southern Section committee told movement to form Orange County section isn't a result of parochial school controversy.

August 23, 1991|TOM HAMILTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CERRITOS — Consultant Barbara Wilson, representing 15 high school districts, told the Southern Section's Executive Committee Thursday that pursuing an Orange County Section in the California Interscholastic Federation "is not a knee-jerk reaction" to the private-public issue in the county for the past two years.

Wilson had announced the results of a questionnaire Tuesday in which the county's 57 public high schools in 15 districts strongly favored a separate county section. Thursday, she reviewed a feasibility study of a county section and the results of the questionnaire with the committee at the Southern Section office.

Wilson also said the superintendents have asked her to review the feasibility study and the results of the questionnaire at the Southern Section's general council meeting Sept. 19, where it is expected to be heard by representatives of the section's 66 athletic leagues.

Gary Smidderks, president-elect of the Southern Section's general council, asked Wilson if the section proposal was a product of the conflict between parochial and public schools in the county.

Four county parochial schools--Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, Servite and Rosary--will join public school leagues for the first time in 1992 for athletic competition.

Only five of the county's 15 private and parochial schools responded to Wilson's questionnaire and most have expressed reservations about leaving the Southern Section to form a county section. The 15 schools were not invited to Tuesday's meeting when school superintendents met in Anaheim.

"The superintendents sincerely want to explore the possibility of a section and a different way of doing business," Wilson said. "The superintendents are looking at their ASB budgets more closely and are finding that students are missing more class time and transportation costs are getting costly in the Southern Section."

Don Hagen, principal at Canyon Springs High in Moreno Valley, asked if the county's private and parochial schools would have a second opportunity to respond to Wilson's questionnaire or "will they be pulled in (to the section), kicking and screaming?"

Wilson said an invitation to the county's private and parochial schools to meet with her will be mailed next month.

While reviewing the possibilities of governing and financing a new section, Wilson said some of the projections were merely starting points.

"Some of the ideas of governance and financing are pretty far out," she said. "If there's one page that's off the wall, it's the budget. But everyone feels that the area would do very, very well in playoff revenue for all sports. The facilities are here, the schools are here and the programs are here."

Wilson assured the committee that the superintendents are proceeding with the idea of having a section, adding they were interested in getting reactions from the committee before taking the next step.

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