The Beaver Local Board of Education voted on Monday to end its five-year relationship with the All-American Conference.
Kent Polen, Beaver Local superintendent, cited an enrollment decline for the board’s decision to send a letter to the conference stating it intends to leave after the next school year.
“We dropped more than 300 students in the last four years,” Polen said. “The AAC is a very competitive league and playing in the upper division, it would be very hard to compete [with our numbers].”
Beaver Local will leave the AAC following the 2012-13 school year.
“We’ll have 16 teams,” said Clem Zumpella, AAC commissioner, of the next school year.
Zumpella said no other school has sent letters expressing interest in joining the AAC, so the conference probably will drop to seven teams in the upper division in the sports that have two leagues.
Beaver Local, which joined the AAC in 2008, was an upper division school. In football, Beaver Local was in a division with Howland, Canfield, Poland and Niles.
Although Beaver Local was the only Columbiana County school that was an AAC member, Polen said travel wasn’t a major factor in deciding to leave.
“Because of our size, we are geographically-challenged,” said Polen, adding that in any league the school would expect to travel.
Most Columbiana County schools are in the Inter Tri-County League, which consists of much smaller schools.
“Geographically, we are a good fit for the ITCL, but we are too big,” Polen said.
Beaver Local is planning to be an independent for the foreseeable future. Polen said the district will send letters to other leagues to see if there might be interest.