JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska school district officials are close to making a decision on whether to combine Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas high schools' football teams, Thunder Mountain Athletic Director Jake Jacoby said.

"I would say in the next week a final decision will be made," Jacoby said.

The Alaska School Activities Association has given the Juneau School District until Nov. 1 to submit a merger proposal, the Juneau Empire reported .

"Everyone seems to understand where we're coming from — where we're coming from financially, also just competitively and the safety concerns of so many freshmen playing, especially on JD's team that's been so low on numbers lately," Jacoby said.

Juneau-Douglas head football coach Kevin Hamrick said he does not know how much longer the school will be able to fund its team.

"There's a lot of expenses besides the travel," he said. "And the community has been so awesome to support all these (expenses) but I just don't know how much longer they can keep it up because they're starting to cut back."

The district held an open forum in the spring to gauge the public's opinion on the prospect of consolidating high school football and softball at the two schools.

No decisions were made and polls have showed that the community is still fairly split on the matter.

Hamrick hopes those wishing to maintain both teams can the other side and the difficult decision school administrators face.

"They'll just think we're losing a team but in fact, we're gaining a safer event for our kids to participate in with better equipment, better competition," he said.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com