Perceived private school edge has some PIAA affiliates speaking of ‘secession’

By Matt DeGeorge

When John Sarandrea said yes a year ago, he didn’t know how much weight was behind the question.

The WPIAL needed a new superintendent’s representative to its board, and Sarandrea, a former basketball coach now heading the New Castle Area School District, thought he was up to the task.

Soon into that endeavor, the role’s main task was explained: Superintendents wanted to delve into competitive balance in the PIAA. Would Sarandrea take the lead in canvassing District 7’s administrators?

That inquest led to the “PIAA Playoff Equity Summit” next Tuesday in State College, open to public-school administrators to ascertain how to rectify competitive imbalance that has led to an overwhelming proportion of PIAA championships won by private and charter (so-called “non-boundary”) schools. Topics on the agenda, like separate championships and even a possible secession from the PIAA, were once regarded as third rails in this conversation, but they’ve gained traction as animosity has mounted.

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