The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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June 29, 2013

School officials worry tension between Easton Valley, Northeast could disrupt athletic events

MILES — Easton Valley School District officials say they are worried whether tensions between families from that district and the Northeast schools will spill over and disrupt athletic events.

Those concerns led the Easton Valley board on Thursday to discuss the future of competition between its newly established district — the result of a recent merger between East Central and Preston — and the Northeast Rebels.

A lawsuit filed by the Northeast School Board regarding a whole-grade sharing agreement still lingers in the air, causing worry for parents and school officials for student competition between Northeast and Easton Valley they said.  Board members are concerned that issues may arise between parents and students at certain athletic events involving the two schools.

"This is not an educational issue. This is truly a community issue," Easton Valley superintendent Robert Lagerblade said.

Although the Rebels will no longer be a part of the same conference as the River Hawks, the two districts are still very integrated in athletic competition.

"Our younger kids still play against each other in T-ball and soccer, and some still play on the same teams," Easton Valley parent Shawn Blake said.

During the discussion, board member Ronald Regenwether said it should be the parents' decision to let their children participate in athletic events if they so choose.

"If parent' don't want to go to the games they don't have to; if they don't want their kids to participate then they don't have to," Regenwether said.

Many community members believe a healing period is in order for the two districts, but others believe the lawsuit will fuel a strong competitive rivalry between the two schools.  

"Coaches would love to see this; it makes for great competition," board member Roger Kilberg said.

However, the board decided to delay any formal action pertaining to the future of the Easton Valley and Northeast athletics departments until more public input has been received. 

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