The CIF Board of Managers held its final 2013-14 meeting June 4, thus ensuring that Bonsall High School will not have CIF athletics during at least part of its initial year.
CIF approval will be needed either for Bonsall High School to become a CIF member or for the high school to be granted “Multi-School Teams Status” under a policy which allows athletes from certain schools to play for a specified other team. The CIF Board of Managers will not meet again until Oct. 22, and the Bonsall Unified School District has not submitted an application either for CIF membership or for Multi-School Teams Status. Thus student-athletes living within the Bonsall Unified School District boundaries who will be in ninth grade during 2014-15 have the options of participating in club sports or finding a reason for an interdistrict transfer to a school which has athletics.
“Right now we have a girls volleyball club, a club team, and we’re looking at the possibility of expanding that to a boys volleyball club as well,” said Bonsall Unified School District superintendent Justin Cunningham.
CIF approval is not needed to play club sports, and Bonsall High School may field club teams instead of CIF squads. “We’re looking at those as possibilities. We’ll see how that all works out,” Cunningham said.
Ironically, that creates the possibility that some top athletes would enroll at Bonsall High School while focusing on club sports instead of CIF teams. CIF rules prohibit participation in club sports during that sport’s CIF season.
CIF commissioner Jerry Schniepp doubts that many student-athletes will attend a club-only school for the purpose of focusing on club instead of CIF athletics. “I don’t think it’s going to affect us,” he said. “I think high school sports mean too much for too many kids.”
A student-athlete who is already in high school can only transfer to another public school without changing residences if the CIF determines that a hardship exists (if no determination of hardship is made, the student-athlete must sit out a prescribed period but may practice with the team during that time). A student-athlete may initially enroll in any high school which accepts him or her as long as the enrollment is not for athletic reasons; such an interdistrict transfer does not require CIF review.
“They can’t use athletics as a reason to transfer to another district. That would be against CIF rules,” said Vista Unified School District director of student support services Steve Hargrave, who is the VUSD representative on the CIF board of managers.
“There would have to be another reason for the interdistrict transfer,” Hargrave said. “They would have to look for another reason, which the parents are pretty well-schooled on that now.”
That often involves a course not available at the school in the student’s own enrollment area including an agricultural program, a foreign language, or a vocational art. A non-athletic extracurricular activity such as band or choir would also be a valid reason for an interdistrict transfer.
Hargrave noted that some Vista Unified School District students live within the current Bonsall High School or Fallbrook High School attendance area. “I can’t tell you how many students have transferred into Vista High or Mission Vista, because that can’t be an official reason,” he said of Fallbrook and Bonsall athletes.
Hargrave estimates that between 30 and 40 Bonsall residents attend high school in Vista. “We have quite a few transfer from Bonsall. It’s more Mission Vista,” he said.
Not only is Mission Vista High School closer to Bonsall than Vista High School, but the 4×4 schedule with four classes a day is a valid academic reason for an interdistrict transfer. “It’s more like college. They complete their classes in one semester,” Hargrave said.
Mission Vista High School was designed to accommodate 2,000 students. Enrollment was approximately 1,400 in 2013-14 and is expected to be approximately 1,600 in 2014-15, when the school which opened in 2009 will have 500 freshmen for the first time.
An interdistrict transfer must be approved by the student’s home district as well as the district which will be educating him or her. “Bonsall has indicated all along that they would grant interdistrict transfers,” said Fallbrook Union High School District superintendent Dale Mitchell. “That indication was regardless of what the reason for the request was.”
Mitchell will be retiring as of Sept. 1 – after the 2014-15 school year starts – but he expects that interdistrict transfers from Bonsall will be accepted to Fallbrook High School or the Oasis High School independent study program which has Multi-School Teams Status with Fallbrook High School. “If students and their parents want to attend school in the Fallbrook high school district, we’ll welcome them,” Mitchell said.
“They’re always welcome in our district,” said Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District superintendent Lou Obermeyer, who will also be retiring this summer. “I just don’t anticipate a lot of them coming our direction.”
The CIF sanctions 28 sports, including badminton which is played only in the City Conference and roller hockey which is only a Metro Conference sport. Fallbrook High School fields teams in the other 26 sports. “That’s why I would anticipate that they stay with Fallbrook,” Obermeyer said.
Valley Center High School has 25 programs with the exception being gymnastics.
“I just don’t anticipate a lot of them coming our direction,” Obermeyer said. “I just anticipate they’ll want to stay in Bonsall or Fallbrook.”
None of the three Vista Unified School District high schools – Vista, Mission Vista, and Rancho Buena Vista – have boys volleyball, lacrosse, or gymnastics. Mission Vista, which is a magnet school, also does not have football, water polo, wrestling, swimming, or track and field.
“I think it’s unfortunate for Bonsall,” Schniepp said of the new high school not having athletics.