Mill Valley considers departure from Kaw Valley League
Mill Valley High School found itself outgrowing its walls two years ago, so it underwent a building expansion.
Now, Mill Valley is close to outgrowing the Kaw Valley League so the school is exploring the possibility of moving to a new league.
“We love the league, it’s been great for us, and a bunch of the teams in there are great,” said Matt Fedde, MVHS associate principal and building activities coordinator, “but it might be time to look around a little bit. If we’re going to be the team we want to be, we want to make sure we’re playing the teams that are going to play us in the postseason, too.”
The KVL consists of three Class 5A schools (MVHS, Lansing and Turner) and five 4A schools (Basehor-Linwood, Bonner Springs, Piper, Bishop Ward and Tonganoxie). Mill Valley is the largest school in the league with 1,140 students, and it is the ninth-largest 5A school.
Mill Valley is far from finished growing, and it is just 149 students away from moving to 6A, the state’s largest classification. The smallest 6A school, Leavenworth, has 1289 students.
“I can tell you in terms of our enrollment we’ve got 240 seniors, and we’re getting 240 kids alone from (Monticello Trails Middle School) next year. Plus, we get Mill Creek kids. And our fifth-grade class in the district is huge. At one of the schools there’s 125 of them, so we could have a 450-kid class in four years.”
The most likely destinations where Mill Valley could land if it changes leagues would be the Sunflower League or the East Kansas League. Fedde stressed that Mill Valley has not been in contact with either league or applied to join a different league.
Fedde said it would be accurate to describe Mill Valley as being in a “beginning discussions” phase.
“I won’t presume to speak for either of those bigger leagues, the 5A and 6A leagues around,” Fedde said. “We’d have some selling to do to get ourselves to them, to make sure we felt like it was a good fit and they did too.
“We have not had any official talks with anybody yet, but it certainly is in our thought process because we are growing very fast.”
Mill Valley isn’t the only Kaw Valley League school pondering departure. Basehor-Linwood has applied for membership in the Frontier League.
“We put in our application,” said Joe Keeler, BLHS athletics director. “There’s nothing official yet.”
Keeler said if the Bobcats are accepted into the Frontier League, they will not begin play in the new league until the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year when the next two-year football districting cycle concludes.
“If it ends up happening, you’re looking at three years,” Keeler said.
The process began toward the end of the 2010-2011 school year when Keeler said the Frontier League approached BLHS and extended an invitation for the Bobcats to join the league. In the weeks and months that followed, BLHS administration, board members and coaches discussed the possibility of a league change.
“We decided that was something we should entertain the idea to do to put our kids in a stable 4A league for a long time,” Keeler said.
The Frontier League recently lost Gardner-Edgerton to the East Kansas League. GEHS was a 5A school at the time, but it jumped to 6A this year. The Frontier League currently has seven schools: De Soto, Eudora, Paola, Baldwin, Spring Hill, Louisburg and Ottawa.