PLATTSMOUTH – Plattsmouth Board of Education members gained insights on the future of the Eastern Midlands Conference Monday night during a presentation at their monthly workshop.
Plattsmouth High School Assistant Principal/Activities Director Shaun Brothers provided board members with an update about league activities and plans. The speech included information about current and projected enrollments of league members, state classifications of different sports and activities and membership status of the eight current schools.
The Eastern Midlands Conference has eight members this year. The high schools include Bennington, Blair, Elkhorn, Gretna, Nebraska City, Norris, Plattsmouth and Waverly.
Brothers began the presentation with a list of enrollment figures for each of the eight high schools. Bennington currently has 527 students in grades 9-11 and Blair has 538. Elkhorn (1,038), Gretna (1,065), Nebraska City (301), Norris (537), Plattsmouth (431) and Waverly (450) round out the conference.
Brothers said league members are aware of the wide range of enrollment numbers within the conference. Gretna and Elkhorn both have more than 1,000 students in grades 9-11, while Nebraska City, Plattsmouth and Waverly all have fewer than 500.
Gretna has applied to become a member of the Metropolitan High School Activities Association. The Dragons currently compete in Class A in many sports and activities and the district will likely continue to grow. Gretna is projected to reach 1,409 students in grades 9-11 by the 2022-23 school year.
The MHSAA has not yet formally accepted Gretna because it must wait a certain number of days before it can consider the application. If the MHSAA does accept Gretna, the Dragons would begin competing in that conference in the 2019-20 campaign.
If Gretna does leave the conference, the EMC would have seven schools in the 2019-20 academic year. Brothers said the current plan is to operate with that number for one season. The new Elkhorn North High School would become the league’s eighth member in 2020-21.
Elkhorn Public Schools would split the student population of Elkhorn High and Elkhorn North so both schools would have a Class B enrollment. Brothers said the projected opening enrollment for grades 9-11 for Elkhorn North is 624.
Elkhorn South’s student population would remain unchanged and the Storm would stay in Class A. Elkhorn South teams moved from the EMC to the MHSAA last year.
Brothers said Nebraska City officials have expressed to other members that they are considering leaving the EMC. If the Pioneers do leave the conference, the most likely options for the district would be to either join the Nebraska Capitol Conference or compete without a conference affiliation. If Nebraska City chooses to become independent, the district would join Falls City as regional schools with an out-of-conference status.
Brothers told board members he was pleased to work with other EMC partners in promoting the league. He said the Eastern Midlands Conference has many positive attributes and was a good home for Plattsmouth.
“The thing with the Eastern Midlands Conference is that it’s more than an athletics conference,” Brothers said. “It’s a fine arts conference and it’s an academics conference. We do a lot of things well as a conference, and we’re proud to be associated with it.”