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Community Expresses Concerns With Cedarville-DeTour Co-Op in Jeopardy

CEDARVILLE - The Cedarville school board voted 5-2 in favor of ending the Cedarville-DeTour athletic co-op last week, a decision that has sparked questions and frustration from the two communities.

Cedarville Public Schools and DeTour Public Schools, two small school districts separated by about 20 miles in the Eastern U.P., have historically been rival schools in athletics. But with declining enrollment, the two teamed up last school year to form the Cedarville-DeTour co-op.

“It’s not the days of old anymore. The numbers have gone down for both DeTour and Cedarville. They really need each other now,” said Spencer Byrd, the co-op’s Athletic Director. “I think if we do what we talked about tonight and we focus on the kids and what’s best for the kids, then they know everything is going to work its way out.”


Now in year two of the three-year agreement, there have been some of the traditional hiccups that come with starting a sports co-op -- from travel issues to funding. Still, many in the community said they were stunned last week when the school board abruptly voted to end the co-op without public input.

Dozens of people showed up to a Cedarville Athletics Committee meeting Sunday night to express their opinions on the sudden decision.

“The first people that get hurt by a decision like this are the students,” said Byrd. “But secondly, the students aren’t going to stay here if they don’t have an opportunity to play and compete and without the co-op they really don’t have the opportunity to truly compete in the Eastern U.P.”

Cedarville and DeTour’s high school student enrollment is just over 100 kids when combined. Without the co-op, it’s unlikely that either school would be able to field many athletic teams on its own.


DeTour sophomore Tiffany Papin plays volleyball, basketball and runs track and field for the Cedarville-DeTour Islanders. She said she cried when she heard the news that the school board was ending the co-op.

“Without it, I wouldn’t be here in this room with so many people,” Papin said at Sunday night’s meeting. “Without it, I wouldn’t know so many new people. Without it, I wouldn’t have basically a family, because we are a family. We are connected.”

The school board will hold a meeting on Tuesday night to further discuss the co-op and last week’s vote. The public is encouraged to attend.

Between Sunday night’s show of support and Tuesday’s upcoming meeting, Byrd said he hopes the board realizes the positive impact the co-op has had on students like Papin.


“Tiffany [Papin], you obviously saw, this means a lot to her,” said Byrd. “She’s a very shy, reserved girl. But when she runs on the track she shines and you can tell that she really enjoys it and loves it and that’s another example of what a travesty it would be if this co-op were to be dissolved.”

Editor’s Note: In the accompanying video, Papin is identified as a sophomore at Cedarville instead of a sophomore at DeTour. We regret the error.

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