Lakeville superintendent Gary Amoroso explained why his district is pushing for the new conference:
"As far as our district goes there were really two driving factors. The first was looking at reducing the amount of time our students miss as a result of being involved in co-curricular activities. That has been increasing and that concerns us. We believe the conference as aligned for 2010-11 (with the Classic Lake schools added to the Lake) would further increase that time. Second, we’ve been doing an awful lot of budget adjustments in our district, and we believe that the conference currently being discussed would extend those trips and cost us additional dollars. The potential new [South Suburban] conference provides us with, we believe, some reductions in transportation and travel."
From the Apple Valley-Eagan-Eastview-Rosemount school district come some cost comparisons. Using Rosemount High School as a starting point, the average round-trip in the expanded Lake (with the four Classic Lake schools added) would be 38 miles. (62 miles is the average from Rosemount to the four Classic Lake sites). With the South Suburban Conference, the average would be 26 miles.
As for Prior Lake, which is slated to be part of the new South Suburban, the round-trip mileage in the new league would be 23.8 miles. In the Missota, Prior Lake's current conference, the average is 51.7
The Missota, of course, will undergo changes next year. Hutchinson will leave for the Wright County and Chaska and Chanhassen will leave the Lake in 2010-11 and join the Missota.
There may be a sticking point in Prior Lake's plans to join the South Suburban next fall. Missota bylaws state that schools wishing to withdraw must make that intention known by Sept.1 in order for the move to be effective the following year. Prior Lake officials are trying to convince the rest of the Missota schools to give them some leeway on that deadline.
And here's something to think about: What happens if Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Wayzata and Eden Prairie -- the five schools left hanging by the massive Lake withdrawal -- declare that they are dissolving their five-team league and they all want to apply for membership in the South Suburban, effective in 2010-11?
This mess just keeps getting messier.