SALEM - State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo issued the following statement regarding the Oregon School Activities Association classification and redistricting dispute:
Final order: It is hereby ordered that Oregon School Activities Association did not violate state or federal laws, rules of the Department of Education, or its own rules in a manner that would have changed the outcome when it adopted a six classification system for high school athletics for the 2006-10 school years.
Statement: "As the superintendent of public instruction, I took an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon.-
"I swore that I would faithfully discharge my duties to the best of my ability.-
"OSAA is a voluntary organization whose members have given it the authority to govern Oregon athletics and that authority is recognized under Oregon state law and Oregon administrative rule.-
"In this case, my actions have been strictly limited by those laws and rules, and I find that I have no basis to rule against the OSAA classification and redistricting on the facts of the case. My hands are tied.
"Given the evidence presented in the appeal by Eugene, Salem-Keizer and Medford, it is clear that there are real concerns for student safety and loss of instructional time.
"To me, these issues outweigh benefits gained from competitive balance. However, the law does not see it that way.-
The law - as currently written - does not distinguish between the relative weights of the criteria.
School athletics are an important part of student life; however, I am committed to making changes in state law that will ensure our students are safe and getting the instructional hours they need in order to be successful.-
"I will introduce legislation in the coming session to prioritize the criteria under which classification and redistricting is done, putting student safety and academic achievement in ranked order ahead of all other criteria."