Are Portland’s high schools going 6A?

9-18-13-6A sports debate
Concerned parents packed a town hall meeting in Southeast Portland Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 -- worried about the future of athletic programs at Portland Public Schools. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sweeping changes could be coming to the way Portland children compete in high school sports.

“Because we’ve been 3A, 4A, and 5A, we’ve lost what Portland is all about,” said PPS Athletic Director Marshall Hastings. “We want that back.”

9-18-13-6A sports source
A sports coach talks to KOIN 6 News about his concerns on PPS’ new 6A plan. (KOIN 6 News)

The Portland Public Schools district wants all of its nine high schools to compete at the ultra-competitive 6A level. PPS argues this will cut down on student athlete travel time and travel costs, and “even the playing field” among Portland schools.

Portland Public Schools also wants to re-establish the Portland Interscholastic League, or PIL.

But not everyone, including some coaches, agree with the proposal. Parents and coaches at a Wednesday night meeting at Franklin High School said the small schools will be at a competitive disadvantage.

The district reports the proposal will ultimately save money, but parents ask at what cost? Some parents said it would take more money to attract 6A-quality coaches to smaller schools.

Meanwhile, parents have heard the rumors that Benson High was going to get rid of its sports altogether, or that Benson and Hefferson high schools could merge their teams into one. However, nothing has been officially announced on Benson’s sports plans as of press time.

Note that PPS’ 6A plan is still a proposal. The overhaul would need Oregon School Activities Association approval to be finalized.

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