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updated: 10/26/2010 5:34 PM

Forum may help shape W. Chicago HS's athletic future

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Community High School in West Chicago will hold a public forum Wednesday, Oct. 27, on whether to exit the tough DuPage Valley Conference and compete as an independent school.

The meeting, which will include a question-and-answer session, is at 7:30 p.m. in the school auditorium, 326 Joliet St.

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"It's such a hot topic, we feel we need to address all the concerns and get input from the people who will be most impacted," District 94 school board President Katherine Doremus said.

"The administration would really like us to take the leap of faith and go independent, but the board at this time is pretty much on the fence, listening."

The DVC is one of the most competitive athletic conferences in the state, pitting the comparatively small West Chicago against athletic powerhouses such as Wheaton Warrenville South, the Napervilles and Glenbard North.

Previous attempts to switch to another conference fizzled. Now the district is exploring the unusual option of scheduling all its own games and meets as an independent school.

Parents and others in the community who responded to a recent online survey were split on the issue, but a significant number said they didn't have enough information.

District 94 officials prepared a sheet with answers to frequently asked questions about the change.

Here are some highlights:

• The consideration to become independent is not based on any one sport and the goal is "to provide constructive competitiveness in our schedules and not overwhelming or underwhelming competitiveness."

• Becoming independent would make it possible to create a schedule that's tailored to each sports program. For example, the schools West Chicago would seek to play in tennis might be different from the teams it would play in basketball.

• The move would not affect the school's participation in state events, such as regionals, sectionals and state championships. "A more successful season could lead to a possible higher seeding during state events." However, West Chicago athletes would no longer have the chance to become All-Conference or Conference Champions.

• The earliest the school could become independent is fall 2012.

• If West Chicago withdraws from the DVC, another school would likely snap up the open spot.

• Going independent wouldn't prevent West Chicago from joining or forming another conference at a later date.

Doremus stressed the forum is being run by the administration and any school board members who attend will only be there to listen.

"We really need to listen to all the stakeholders before going to a vote," she said.

Questions from the audience will be collected on notecards. Questions also may be submitted before the meeting to lknutson@d94.org.

To view the full FAQ sheet, go to www.d94.org/PressLinks/FAQConferenceAffiliation.pdf.

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