BUTTE — After only two weeks of public discussions between the Anaconda school board and community, a clear decision was made Wednesday night that Anaconda wants one more year as its own program.
Anaconda superintendent Justin Barnes said from the time of the last public meeting there has been a sharp rise in interested students to play football for the Copperheads next fall.
“(Butte Central director Don Peoples) and I both talked about that maybe it will be a rallying cry for both schools, and I hope that’s the case,” Barnes said. “We’re looking at a possibility of 45 to 48 students next year. If we have that, the attrition, the safety is not the same concern as it was in the beginning when we started these conversations.”
The Butte Central school board was also moving in a similar direction to Anaconda’s, so the results of Wednesday night’s vote didn’t come as a surprise.
“We had a really good meeting with their administration and some other school board members on Tuesday, and we really anticipated what their board’s decision was going to be. Our board was moving in that direction, as well,” said Peoples.
The whole discussion of the co-op, regardless of the outcome, served a valuable purpose in both communities.
“The one positive that emerged from the whole discussion and the whole planning and even talking about the potential co-op is that it inspired kids in both schools to recommit to football,” added Peoples.
Peoples confirmed that Butte Central has a solid mix of juniors and seniors committed to playing football in the fall for the Maroons. However, in Anaconda, whether it will actually have a safe number of interested students going out for football next fall and in the future is a shot in the dark.
“You never know,” Barnes said. “Typically, you might see 10 percent drop, but even at that if they have 48 signed up to play next year you might lose five to seven kids,” said Barnes.
With the potential of a co-op no longer looming, Butte Central football will remain in Class A, Anaconda will remain in Class B.