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Decorah School Board wants to take a long-range view on Northeast Iowa Conference realignment

Posted: Mon, Jan 13, 2020 7:11 PM

Decorah High School Activities Director Adam Riley visited with members of the Decorah School Board Monday night to provide an update on the discussions about Mason City High School possibly joining the Northeast Iowa Conference.

The NEIC is the second oldest conference in the state of Iowa, being formed in 1920.  It has had the same members since 1970.

Mason City wants to join the NEIC for the 2021-2022 school year because the CIML, of which it is currently a member, has 18 school districts, most of which are much bigger than Mason City.  It also has high transportation costs because Des Moines schools are a four-hour round trip.

Riley said Mason City Schools had discussions with NEIC schools 13 years ago, but nothing came of that.  This time around, athletic directors from all seven NEIC school districts have met to discuss Mason City's application.  They will be joined by all seven school superintendents Thursday to discuss the issue further.

Said Decorah School Board President Ron Fadness, "Change is coming, for the better or for the worse.  Now we have to figure out how to make it for the better."

Complicating the situation is the fact that representatives from the North Iowa Cedar League have approached the Oelwein School District about leaving the NEIC and joining their conference.

"It's quite complex," said Riley.  He added later, "It impacts so many schools in the corner of the state."