A southeastern Wisconsin school district filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) over a realignment proposal that is set to take effect for the 2017-2018 school year.
The Wauwatosa School District is hoping to stall the realignment plan, which reshuffles schools in the greater Milwaukee area that are members of the Classic 8, Wisconsin Little Ten, Greater Metro, Woodland and North Shore conferences. The WIAA Board of Control approved the proposal in April by a 7-4 vote, and not everyone was pleased with the outcome.
Currently, Wauwatosa East is a member of the Greater Metro conference, where they’ve struggled competitively. Wauwatosa West is a member of the Woodland conference. The realignment plan places both schools in the Greater Metro, while the district was hoping to find a place for both in the Woodland.
The Wauwatosa district was among the districts seeking relief through realignment, but feels it was left worse off after the changes were approved.
“One of the comments I made when I talked to the WIAA is, ‘Has there ever been a situation where a district has asked for relief and put in a worse position than we were?’” District superintendent Phil Ertl told WauwatosaNow.
“It is really about the future competitive nature of Wauwatosa athletic programs and the ability to remain competitive and field teams,” Ertl said.
The district believes the process for deciding on a realignment plan was flawed, and is asking for more transparency. The final approval for the realignment plan came after a process that lasted over two years, and considered numerous proposals.
“They clearly stated they know the process was flawed, yet they went ahead and voted it through anyway,” Ertl said.
The WIAA responded to the suit with a statement:
“We acknowledge realignment can be an emotional issue. The WIAA Board of Control is delegated the authority to establish conference alignment within the membership. Oftentimes, unanimous or consensus agreement by schools involved is unattainable.”