Lots of misinformation on this issue. First, the BOE is not considering making this move, we made it. If the NVL accepts us, we're in. The Board formed a committee to study this issue in May. We decided to look at several criteria. Competitiveness, Safety, Cost and Public Interest. We did not consider factors like demographics or socioeconomics. The move was part of long-term planning for the future of Oxford. We gathered opinions from many sources. Administrators, ADs, Selectmen, Coaches (2 to 1 supported NVL, several wrote letters) and townspeople. This was an open process, sorry some of you missed it.
Competitiveness: K-12 enrollment is DOWN not up. OHS will have 500 to 570 students for the forseeable future. We should compete with local schools of similar size. Competition against schools with 2 to 3 times as many kids as OHS is not fair to our kids over the long run. It should be avoided. There are four small NVL high schools within a long walk from OHS that we should play against, Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Woodland. These are our natural, Class S rivals. NVL may form three divisions of 5 teams. We would rarely have to compete with the larger, more distant NVL schools. Sadly, it has been a practice of larger SWC schools to pad their schedules with easy wins against the tiny SWC teams. Masuk didn't play Newtown a year or two ago, but they played Oxford and Immaculate. It has happened a lot over the years. Safety: When Class S plays Class LL in football, for example, our kids get hurt. In winter, the back roads of Fairfield County re-freeze at night, making travel dangerous. Our kids get back to OHS at 10:30 or 11:00 with no time to eat or do homework. Our smaller squads play against larger, fresh squads, causing injury. Cost: Mapquest doesn't tell the story. Its a 1.5 hour bus trip to Joel Barlow or Weston because buses cant use the Merritt. NVL is the Route 8 corridor, nice. Cost: I sit on the Finance Sub-committee. The Athletic Travel Budget line item WILL BE reduced next year due to this move. Revenue: Our football gate at $5.00 per person will be significant. We project 2000 to even 3000 fans at our home night games at our new field. 5 home games might conservatively bring in $50,000 or more. Now add boys and girls soccer. Couple this with travel savings and MAYBE the BOE could end Pay to Play, which would amount to a tax cut for all of the families of sports and extra-curricular kids. So, please stop trashing football. Three times as many kids play football than most other sports at OHS and it will bring in revenue. Public Interest: Does anyone in the community get excited when Joel Barlow comes to town? We are a divided community. Sports in the NVL will be more exciting due to the local rivalries that will grow. It can bring us all closer together. Look at Ansonia. The only thing that unites that town is Ansonia football.
Common Misconceptions: Moving to the NVL WILL NOT prohibit teams from competing against SWC schools. The move WILL NOT hurt sports other than football. Use wrestling as an example. We could have virtually the same schedule in 2013-2014 as we have for 2012-2013. We would just have to add Derby, Seymour and Holy Cross into the mix. Maybe we eliminate matches against New Milford, Masuk and Newtown. Long term, how is that a bad thing? It sure hasn't hurt Derby wrestling. If Swimming wants a meet with Pomperaug, go for it! It is not prohibited at all. The upside outweighs the downside here, so that is why the Committee and the Board both voted unanimously to make this move. NVL is a better fit for Oxford.