Public and private high schools have always been on the same footing in Kansas when it comes to sorting them into classifications for high school sports.
But that could be coming to an end, as soon as the 2022-23 school year.
The Wichita Eagle has learned that the Kansas State High School Activities Association executive board unanimously passed a multiplier proposal with a 9-0 vote on Wednesday that could move private schools up one classification from public schools with similar enrollment.
The proposal, which was made by an 18-member committee formed to address the issue of private schools winning a disproportionate number of KSHSAA state championships, will be discussed and examined by school administrators from across the state in October.
After feedback from the regional administrator meetings, the proposal will then return to the KSHSAA executive board, which can either call a special meeting for a vote or wait until their annual April meeting. If it is passed by a majority on the executive board, then the proposal will be sent out to a vote by each school. It would then need an overall majority from member schools, as well as a majority from each six of the classifications to send the proposal to the State Board of Education, who would then need to approve it for it to become a KSHSAA by-law.
“It’s nowhere near a finished deal,” a source who works for KSHSAA said. “If you’re thinking in race terms, it’s out of the starting blocks but a long ways away from the finish line.”
While other states have implemented a blanket multiplier for private schools or a multiplier based on a school’s postseason success, Kansas is pushing forward with a proposal for a unique, three-pronged multiplier to classify private schools.
The premise is that every private school begins with a 1.0 multiplier on its enrollment. From there, it can either stay the same or go up based on three factors.
The first factor is based on geographic population, depending on the public school attendance area in which the private school is located. If there is a public school in the same area that is sorted into Class 6A or 5A, then 0.30 will be added to the private school’s multiplier. If a private school is in the same area as a Class 4A or 3A public school, then 0.15 would be added to the private school’s multiplier.
For example, since Bishop Carroll, Kapaun Mt. Carmel, Trinity Academy, Collegiate and Independent are all in Wichita where there are Class 6A public schools, then all of those Wichita private schools would have 0.30 added to their multiplier. The same would apply to Bishop Miege, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy in the Kansas City area.
The second factor is the number of state championships in all sports a private school has won over the previous five-year period. If that total is more than 10, then the private school would have 0.30 added to their multiplier. If that total is between five and nine, then 0.15 would be added to the private school’s multiplier.
That means successful private schools such as Carroll, Collegiate, Aquinas and Miege would have another 0.30 added to their multiplier, giving them at least a 1.60 multiplier.
The third and final factor is based on a private school’s free and reduced lunch population. If that total figure is below 20 percent, then 0.15 would be added to the private school’s multiplier.
After the three-pronged process is completed for each private school, then that multiplier would be used on the school’s enrollment and ultimately be the number used to sort them into a classification.
It should be noted that the proposal states that a private school cannot move up more than one classification and cannot force a private school playing 8-man football to move up to 11-man football. The proposal also states there is no appeals process.
Based on the 2020-21 classifications, a total of 17 of the 28 private schools would change classifications in all sports except football under the proposal. Wichita-area private schools like Carroll (6A), Trinity (4A), Collegiate (4A), Independent (3A), Hutchinson Trinity (3A) and Classical (2A) would move up one class for all sports except football, while Kapaun (5A) and Berean Academy (2A) would stay in the same. KC area private schools Aquinas (6A), St. James (6A) and Miege (5A) would also go up a class.
In football, notable movements would included Carroll and Aquinas going up to 6A, Miege and St. James moving up to 5A, and Topeka Hayden and Collegiate moving up to 4A.
How each private school would be affected
Note: Projections based on 2020-21 attendance numbers.
Bishop Carroll (From 5A up to 6A)
Kapaun Mt. Carmel (Stay in 5A)
St. James Academy (From 5A to 6A)
St. Thomas Aquinas (From 5A up to 6A)
Bishop Miege (From 4A up to 5A)
Topeka Hayden (Stay in 4A)
Bishop Ward (From 3A up to 4A)
Wichita Collegiate (From 3A up to 4A)
Wichita Trinity Academy (From 3A up to 4A)
Thomas More Prep (Stay in 3A)
Bishop Seabury (From 2A up to 3A)
Hutchinson Trinity (From 2A up to 3A)
Kansas City Christian (From 2A up to 3A)
Maur Hill-Mt. Academy (From 2A up to 3A)
Olathe Heritage Christian (From 2A up to 3A)
Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan (From 2A up to 3A)
Salina Sacred Heart (From 2A up to 3A)
Wichita Independent (From 2A up to 3A)
Berean Academy (Stay in 2A)
Maranatha Academy (Stay in 2A)
Cair Paravel (From 1A up to 2A)
Wichita Classical (From 1A up to 2A)
Beloit-St. John’s (Stay in 1A)
Hutchinson Central Christian (Stay in 1A)
McPherson Elyria Christian (Stay in 1A)
St. Xavier (Stay in 1A)
Tipton Catholic (Stay in 1A)
Wichita Central Christian (Stay in 1A)