Bellefonte board approves move to LHAC

PLEASANT GAP — The Bellefonte Area School District officially joined the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference during Wednesday night’s school board meeting, which was held at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology in Pleasant Gap.

Bellefonte is the latest district to join the LHAC. In March, the conference officially extended invitations to 14 area school districts to join what potentially could be a 27-team conference in 2023-24. Five districts — Berlin Brothersvalley, Conemaugh Township, Meyersdale Area, North Star and Windber — approved the move in February.

Bellefonte athletic director Deb Moore spoke about the move to the LHAC.

“It better classifies the teams,” Moore explained. “It has more effect on football. They’ll play like schools with like classifications. You can’t play down two classifications.”

In addition to Bellefonte, other schools invited to the conference were: Bald Eagle Area, Bellwood-Antis, Clearfield, Hollidaysburg, Huntingdon Area, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola and Tyrone Area.

Hollidaysburg would compete in all sports except football.

At the present time, the LHAC consists of 13 schools, with 12 playing football because Bishop Carroll Catholic joined a co-op with Bishop McCort Catholic on the gridiron. If all school districts boards approve, the LHAC would include 25 football-playing members.

Current LHAC members include Bedford, Bishop Carroll Catholic (all sports except football), Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, Bishop McCort Catholic, Central, Central Cambria, Chestnut Ridge, Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown, Penn Cambria, Richland, Somerset and Westmont Hilltop.

“It’s more regionalized for the other sports. We’re not going to send our kids to Johnstown on a school night,” Moore said.

However, football could still see significant travel, she said.

“Football may be further out because we play one night a week and it’s on a Friday night. The junior high and the jayvee will stay the same. There are some different things that we have to do to accommodate the schools because we all have our different rules … there’s more things to iron out,” Moore said.

In the interim, Bellefonte will continue to play in the Mountain League. The board’s vote was unanimous.

Bellefonte will officially join the LHAC on July 1, 2023. The agreement expires on June 30, 2027.

In other business Wednesday night, the board:

— Announced that the survey for Bellefonte’s community branding will go live on Friday, April 8. The survey will be open until Tuesday, April 19, or possibly longer, depending on the number of responses. “Anyone with an opinion that’s tied to our district is encouraged to complete this survey,” said board vice president Jon Guizar.

— Approved a check in the amount of $446,194 for the CPI roof project. The net expense to the district is $182,395.

— Received a budget update from Ken Bean, director of fiscal affairs. Another budget discussion will take place at the Tuesday, April 26 meeting. The board will review the adopted budget at the Tuesday, May 10 meeting before a final review at the Tuesday, May 24 meeting.

— Board president Jeff Steiner read the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resolution. It will be presented as a discussion item at the next meeting, Steiner said.

The Bellefonte school board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. The meeting is open to the public and will be recorded by C-NET.


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