(11-18-21) East Dubuque’s (Illinois) School Board of Education last night approved a recommendation from principal Darren Sirianni by a 5-1 vote to move forward in forming a co-op with its neighbor across the Wisconsin border…Southwestern.

Both schools have been facing small player turn outs and have looked at several other options, including 8-man football.

Southwestern’s school board unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting last week to pursue the co-op.

At a Tuesday night meeting, returning East Dubuque players voted, 15-0, in favor of a co-op with Southwestern, and parents voted 18-2 for the co-op.

This is all in the early stages of making it work. Now the work begins, including financial arrangements, who will coach the team, which games will be hosted by which school, mascot and uniforms, etc.

Scheduling… due to Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) rules, Southwestern would have to host all postseason games. Both schools hope the co-op can schedule Galena in the future to keep that rivalry in place.

But the schools face a couple of major factors that need to be approved, WIAA Board of Control approval is the first major hurdle and the Six Rivers Conference (Southwestern’s current football conference).would be the next.The SRC approval is not required for the co-op to move forward. East Dubuque’s current football conference is the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference (NUIC).

,The WIAA approval is needed to move forward with the program, if not both schools will have to consider other options.

The WIAA Director of Communications Todd Clark in an email reply –

There is two football co-ops with Illinois schools already in our 11-player program. Scales Mound (Benton/Scales Mound IL/Shullsburg) and Warren (Black Hawk/Warren IL).

Blackhawk/Warren won the Six Rivers Conference title this season with a 5-1 record, they lost in the WIAA D 7 playoffs to Reedsville, who will play for a state title today, in the quarterfinals and finished the year 8-5.

IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha in an email reply –

The only thing I would add is that from an IHSA rules perspective, a coop containing an out-of-state school would render that coop ineligible to compete in the IHSA postseason.