some stiff opposition is waiting in the wings.
The move, which would save Joplin taxpayers money by eliminating some of the distance it is having to travel for away games with its current affiliation with the Ozark Conference, has some opposition among Central Ozark administrators and athletic directors because Joplin High School has 500 more students than Nixa, the next largest school in the conference.
A first vote moved the Joplin request forward. The conference superintendents will make a final decision in December.
Republic Superintendent Chance Wistrom, a Webb City native, and former teacher and coach in the Joplin and Carthage school districts, made his feelings clear at the November 19 board of education meeting:
Wistrom said the benefits of admitting Joplin would be that the large division of the COC would have ten schools in it, it would reduce travel times for western conference members and add another class six opponent.
However, Joplin is 40 percent larger than Republic and a number of other districts and has the potential for rapid growth as newly constructed residential areas fill with people.
The board agreed with Wistrom, and said they would prefer to block Joplin’s admission.
If Joplin's request is approved, the Eagles would join the COC's larger schools division, which includes Branson, Carl Junction, Neosho, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Webb City, and Willard.
Currently, Joplin plays in the Ozark Conference with Camdenton, Glendale, Hillcrest, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Parkview, Rolla, Waynesville, and West Plains. Joplin is also the largest school in the Ozark Conference.