Community High School in West Chicago is once again considering leaving the tough DuPage Valley Conference, but this time there's a new twist.
District 94 officials are exploring the option of competing as an independent school almost unheard of in the suburbs, especially for football.
"Essentially we would need to schedule all games and meets and competitions ourselves, Principal Moses Cheng said. "We would call schools and try to create our own schedules. It is a challenge, but I also believe it's very doable.
The school is seeking feedback from parents and community members on its e-mail list, asking them to complete a short online survey by Saturday, Oct. 16.
The survey comes just as Community High School's girls' volleyball team is closing in on its first DVC championship in 30 years. The undefeated Wildcats are in first place after winning Thursday night over Wheaton Warrenville South 25-21, 23-25, 25-22.
But other West Chicago teams have struggled for years in the mighty DVC.
West Chicago's football team is 0-5 in the DVC and 1-6 overall this season. The football team hasn't made the playoffs since 2002.
As one of the smallest schools in the conference, West Chicago typically can't field teams with the numbers and depth to complete with such athletic powerhouses as Wheaton Warrenville South, the Napervilles and Glenbard North. But previous attempts to switch conferences have fizzled.
As an independent, Community High School would maintain its membership in the Illinois High School Association. Participation in postseason regional, sectional, supersectional and other state series events would not be affected, school officials said.
Switching to another conference happens all the time, said Marty Hickman, IHSA executive director, but "there are very few independent teams anymore, particularly in football.
"I think it would be very difficult to fill a nine-game football schedule as an independent, he said.
In football, most of the games are against other teams from the same conference.
Other sports, such as wrestling or track, compete extensively against outside teams in various invitationals and tournaments.
"For all of our programs, we'll look to schedule with schools that would provide a good competitive experience for our athletes, Cheng said. "We have some options for scheduling football, and obviously if this were to come to fruition, we would work really hard to make sure our football schedule works.
The school board is expected to discuss the conference affiliation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the school, 326 Joliet St.
Last February, school officials recommended against a proposal to switch to the smaller Metro Suburban Conference, whose members include Glenbard South in Glen Ellyn and Fenton in Bensenville.