The West Shore School District is exploring the idea of joining a new athletic conference in an effort to keep its sports teams closer to home and save money.
Both of the district's high schools, Cedar Cliff and Red Land, are in the Mid Penn Conference in the PIAA's District 3.
If a new league were to form, it would be the seventh in District 3. The league is under consideration in the PIAA, and the West Shore school board gave permission at the board meeting Thursday to continue conversations about joining the new group.
The league would be made up of 10 schools with a 25-mile radius, Tammi Jones said at the meeting. Jones is the director of secondary education in the district.
The smaller area for league play will allow for more "positive, spirited rivalries" that happen in local games, said Ryan Argot, the district's director of federal programs.
Argot said the district is proud of the competitions between Red Land and Cedar Cliff, and hopes for more annual rivalries along those lines. Argot said the district also has the potential to save on transportation costs with the smaller conference.
The Mid Penn Conference is the largest league in District 3, with 32 schools involved.
Argot said the distances for games often require trips of 40 or 50 miles, but can extend even farther: When the high schools travel to State College for league games, they travel about 90 miles each way.
Argot said the board gave Jones the green light to continue looking into the possibility of changing leagues, which will include further conversations with athletic directors and coaches.
Argot said the school board could vote on the change in January, which would give the district enough time to formally notify Mid Penn if the board voted in favor of leaving the league.
Argot said the paperwork and technicalities of switching leagues would take some time, and expects the district would join the new league in the 2016-2017 school year if the current pacing continues.
-Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.