PCC pushes for multiplier

March 6, 2019

It may not net the desired end result, but at least their feelings will be known.

That was part of the motivation that Porter County Conference principals and athletic directors had when they drafted a proposal to the Indiana High School Athletic Association back in November to have a multiplier applied to the enrollments of private and charter schools.

“I’m not holding my breath,” South Central Principal Ben Anderson said. “I’m expecting to be in 2A next year. But crazier things have happened. We just went into it with the feeling that we want our voices to be heard.”

Specifically, the amendment to Rule B 2-3 D, would apply a multiplier of 1.65, which has been used in Illinois since the 2007-08 school year. It would essentially move private/charter schools up a class. For example, a private school with 200 students would be factored at 330.

“Most of the PCC schools are smaller in size. There are a couple bigger ones, Hebron, Boone, with 500 (students), they’re solid 2As, but the rest of us have been 1A schools,” Anderson said. “It’s tiresome getting beat year after year by private schools. Kouts was No. 2 in the state, it had a 20-plus win season and it was ended in the (boys basketball) sectional by Gary 21st Century, who won for the fourth year in a row. It’s frustrating and it’s not even my school, my team. Just look at Washington Township, it’s the same for them. (Coach) Scott Bowersock has a good squad, year in, year out, and they always get beat by somebody like that.”

The issue isn’t unfamiliar to Anderson. As a student at New Prairie, the football team had to play South Bend St. Joseph, Mishawaka Marian and Culver Academy his senior year to win its sectional.

″(Coach) Bart Curtis had T-shirts made up that read ‘Private School Tour,’” Anderson said. “It’s not a new problem. All school corporations have boundaries even if they have open enrollment. (Private school) can accept kids from anywhere.”

The issue isn’t exclusive to the playing field. The rapid growth of private schools around the state is forcing schools like S.C. and Westville to move up a class despite their own enrollments decreasing. South Central will go from 307 to 293 in the next cycle and Westville from 308 to 294.

“We’re graduating 84 and bringing in 61,” Anderson said. “We’re going from fifth or sixth in A to 10 or 11 in 2A. We’re so small, just a few numbers swings things considerably. The most frustrating thing is I looked at 1A and I’m pretty sure I counted 31 schools that are Catholic, Christian, private or charter. To be clear, I don’t mean any disrespect. I don’t take any credit away from them, but when I’m looking at Andrean instead of Marquette, I don’t like it.”

The proposal will be heard at the IHSAA executive board meeting April 25.

“I can’t speak for all the principals,” Anderson said. “But there’s a reason they all signed it. We’re all frustrated. We will be heard at the meeting.”