Dickinson Trinity dissolves sports co-op with New England effective immediately

The New England, Dickinson Trinity sports co-operative is no more.

For the second straight year, New England Public School has seen its enrollment grow, and money designated by the North Dakota Legislature has been given to schools to offset the costs associated with rapid expansion. (Herald File Photo)
(Herald File Photo)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

During a Jan. 20 meeting between the administration of both schools, Trinity informed New England that they would like to dissolve the co-op effective immediately, forcing New England to scramble for the 2016 football season. The administration from Trinity said the dissolution had to do with the upcoming 2017-2018 realignment, and where the enrollment would put their football team. The track program is also affected by the co-op dissolution, but because it is a current school year New England has the option of competing along side Trinity this season.

New England Superintendent Kelly Koppinger said he was somewhat taken back to hear Trinity wanted to dissolve the co-op, and thought the January meeting was to discuss any problems or issues they would need to work out for next season.

“It wasn’t a complete surprise, but it was something that kind of caught us off guard a little bit,” Koppinger said.

New England does have a few options. The North Dakota Activities Association gave them three co-op options: Dickinson High School, Mott/Regent, and Heart River.

At this point Koppinger said they have only had informal conversations with people connected to those schools.

Time, however, is limited.

If they wish to join another school’s football program—and form another co-op—they would need to have the necessary paperwork submitted to the by March 1

The school held a community meeting last night, and though a majority of the people attending would like to see New England form their own 9-man football team, Koppinger doesn’t know if the student numbers can sustain a program. The fourth, fifth and sixth grade team had 13 kids participate this year, and he said that you could expect that number to be cut in half by the time they reach the varsity level.

“At this point in time I just don’t think we could support it (9-Man football team),” Koppinger said.

Koppinger also cited the cost as a possible road block to forming their own team. From the estimates he has gathered, Koppinger said it would be roughly $1 million to furnish a team. That cost being divide between field and lighting improvements and the purchase of equipment and uniforms for the players.

The track season seems to be in less of a time crunch. New England can compete with Trinity, or they can form their own team. But again, they potentially have the rest of the year to decide.

The fate of the football program ultimately lies in the hands of board approval, from both schools, if they wish to enter into another co-op. That decision will be made soon, given the steadily approaching deadline given by the activities association.

• Look in the February 26 edition of The Herald for the full story

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