A.L. Brown moving to 4A division
By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — A.L. Brown is expected to become the second smallest 4A school in the state when it moves up a division in 2013.
That means the school could face opponents with student populations of up to double its current enrollment of about 1,400.
Noah Lyon, athletic director for Kannapolis City Schools, said the change also will likely mean increased travel, which could cause students to miss substantial amounts of class time.
“There may be times where our teams have to leave as early as 1:30 p.m.,” he said.
Board of Education members voiced concerns about the realignment during Monday’s regular meeting.
“I don’t like the loss of instructional time,” board member Todd Adams said. “I don’t like our kids having to travel so far on buses and I don’t like the idea of kids following in cars on Friday nights to football games.”
Adams said he was also concerned about the possible loss of revenue at the gates with opposing teams having to travel further they might opt not to attend games.
School board Vice-Chairwoman Millie Hall said the realignment would also make the district’s budget even tighter with increased fuel costs.
Although the realignment is inevitable as A.L. Brown continues to grow, Lyon said the district has the option to voice its concerns to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association early next year.
“The No. 1 consideration that we would like to convey to the state is that we get out of school at 3:25 p.m., where other schools in Charlotte may get out at 2 p.m.,” Lyon said. “It’s not a big deal for them to play at 4 p.m., but it is for us.”
Lyon said the district has time to come up with a proposal and limiting classroom interruption should be the top priority.
School board member Doris Buchanan asked if the state would allow the board to prohibit the loss of instruction time.
Lyons said he wasn’t sure, but he knows it would mean students getting home later to do homework.
“If we don’t allow them to get out of school early that pushes games back to 5:30 or 6 p.m.,” he said.
Board Chairwoman Danita Rickard asked what the realignment would mean for traditional rivalry games like the season finale against Concord High School.
Lyon said with the two teams no longer being in the same division the game would have to be bumped to pre-conference play and could no longer bookend the season.
“We are obviously going to play one another because we are so close, but that tradition may have to be put on hold a few years,” he said.
Lyon will continue to work as a liaison between the school board and the state athletic association until the realignment is finalized in May. Realignment occurs every four years based on student enrollment figures.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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