By Liz Shepherd
MENTONE — A parent of two Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation students addressed the school board during a June 19 meeting regarding the decision to leave the Three Rivers Conference.
In April, TVSC administration formally announced the departure, with a new conference to be created alongside five other school corporations. Currently, the new conference will take full effect at the start of the 2024-25 school year.
Miriel McFarland, a TVSC parent, expressed concern with student safety and academics, while also questioning the community’s involvement in the decision.
With academics, McFarland noted the longer drives students would have for participating in or attending games at the schools which would be a part of the new conference. She said most students are also involved in various committees and wondered how the extra time spent traveling to games would have a potential impact on test scores.
McFarland also expressed safety concerns with teenagers traveling longer distances to away games during the winter months.
TVSC Superintendent Blaine Conley said conversations were had with Tippecanoe Valley High School’s head coaches prior to the decision being made.
“We felt this was the best decision for our students,” said Conley. “From the academic piece, our school corporation is more in line with our new schools than the previous schools. In terms of the amount of communication we have with superintendents, there’s better cohesion.”
In other business, the board accepted grants from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation in the total amount of $11,500 for the establishment of swings at Akron and Mentone Elementary Schools for youth with disabilities or limited abilities.
The board also accepted the following donations: $523 from Jason Rich to clear lunch accounts for students in need at TVHS; $1,809 from the Viking Booster Club to the Viking Strong program for a Freelap Pro Timing System; and an anonymous donation of $11,700 to the Tippecanoe Valley boys’ basketball program.
The board’s next public work session is at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the TVSC administration office. The next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, July 17, at Mentone Elementary School.