Following an OSAA decision, Salem-Keizer high schools will play sports in a league with three Bend schools starting in fall 2018.

Following an OSAA decision, Salem-Keizer high schools will play sports in a league with three Bend schools starting in fall 2018.

Anna Reed/Statesman Journal

A hearings officer has ruled that Salem-Keizer high schools will have to play in a sports league with three Bend schools starting in fall 2018.

Hearings officer W. Michael Gillette, a former Oregon Supreme Court justice, ruled that the Oregon School Activities Association was acting within its powers when it voted to realign leagues. Starting in the fall, five Salem-Keizer schools will compete in a league with Bend, Mountain View and Summit high schools.

In its appeal, Salem-Keizer officials said the OSAA failed to hold public hearings; the OSAA’s Classification and Districting Committee didn’t follow its criteria of safety, minimizing the loss of student instructional time and minimizing expenditure to the schools; and the OSAA violated ORS 329.025, which requires equal access to educational opportunities for all students.

Gillette rejected all those arguments, saying the months of meetings prior to the OSAA’s decision were plenty of notice; and that the rules of the OSAA give it wide discretion to create leagues. The current decision, he ruled, is well within those boundaries.

Read the full story at the Statesman Journal.