Dayton School board approves combine indefinitely


December 26, 2019

The Dayton School Board gave a big thumbs up Wednesday night at their monthly meeting to approving the indefinite union of the Dayton-Waitsburg grades 7-12 combined athletic endeavors in all sports.

By a vote of 5-1, the board agreed to approve the recommendation of the DW Athletic Combine Committee to continue the current partnership between Dayton and Waitsburg regarding their athletic programs. The committee had met the prior Monday and had come to a decision based on the results of a survey sent out to Dayton parents and participants. Committee members revealed the results were overwhelmingly in favor of a continued athletic combine between the two communities.

The one negative vote came from at-large board member Fred White. He made it clear he was not outright against the combination of the athletic programs, rather he was strongly in favor of it at the high school level 9-12. His concerns revolved around grades 7-8 at the middle school level in hopes of making sure there is plenty of opportunity for playing for all participants. He felt at that level it is very important that students have an opportunity to play. And in order to do that it might mean a separation at the middle school level and combine later at the high school level.

The board took his concerns into consideration prior to the vote and following the favorable vote all members agreed there is more work to be done and that the issue of middle school play can be reevaluated later.

Also prior to the vote during the public comment portion of the meeting, two members of the Waitsburg board explained their position and made a plea for the Combine to continue. They revealed that earlier the Waitsburg School Board after their own evaluation process had come to the conclusion that they were all in and voted unanimously to continue the combine for all sports and all grades (7-12).

Additionally, the board said several issues still need to be discussed over the coming months. One of the key issues is choosing a mascot both communities can agree on as Alumni of Dayton hold the Bulldog dear to their hearts as does Waitsburg its Cardinal. Superintendent Doug Johnson said the plan going forward is to have the committee come up with several possible names and create a survey instrument to have the active parties involved come to an agreement upon a name for the combined athletic program.

Other issues that will need to be addressed include the shade of the agreed upon colors of black, red, and gold. There are also issues of transportation costs and scheduling games. Every four years the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association evaluates the school sizes and makes sure each school is placed in the proper athletic conferences with schools of similar sizes. The Dayton-Waitsburg combined program will be impacted based on several schools switching WIAA classifications as next year is the start of a new four-year cycle.


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