[READ ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST]
The Virginia High School League looks poised for another restructuring, but a bill put before the General Assembly last Wednesday could portend more profound changes to the league’s voting structure down the line.
One day after the VHSL announced a shakeup in its conference and regional groupings, Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Va. Beach) introduced a piece of legislation aimed at eliminating the league’s longstanding one-vote-per-school policy in favor of a more representative model based on student enrollment. The move would tilt voting power away from small schools scattering the state and toward larger schools in highly populated areas like Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond.
House Bill No. 965 asserts that no public school should remain a member of any organization that classifies schools based on student enrollment — as the VHSL does — unless that organization “apportions voting rights to member schools based on the same formula.” The VHSL, a private, non-profit organization overseeing all the public school sports teams in the state, currently provides each of its 316 member schools with one vote in membership meetings, regardless of student body size or athlete participation numbers.
Davis proposed similar legislation last January, only to see HB1415 killed by the Education Committee before it could get to the floor of the General Assembly. The bill’s demise didn’t surprise Davis, who pointed out that legislation often takes two or three go-arounds to get passed by legislators pouring over some 2,000 bills during the General Assembly’s 45-day regular session. This year’s session extends to 60 days, as it falls on an even-numbered calendar year.
[Virginia High School League to revert to former district and region format]
Davis believes a more straightforward approach gives his bill a better chance of passing this time around. Last year’s iteration focused on the way VHSL dues are paid, stipulating that schools paying more in annual dues should receive more votes during state-wide legislative matters. The concept seemed simple enough, but it failed to address a complicated due-paying formula that fluctuates year-to-year based on changing enrollment and participation numbers.
This year’s bill deals only with alignment, suggesting that schools and regions with more people should carry more votes.
“The goal still is to provide the parents and students in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and Richmond the same voice as those in other parts of the state have,” said Davis, an alumnus of 5A South region member Green Run High. “That was the goal last year; that’s the goal this year. The parents feel as passionate about it this year as they did last year.” Continue reading House bill could alter Virginia High School League’s voting structure