DMPS To Leave CIML, Join Others to Form New Conference

The five Des Moines Public Schools’ high schools – East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt – will be competing in a new athletic conference starting in the 2022-23 school year. Superintendent Tom Ahart announced that DMPS will be joining other school districts in leaving the Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML).

“This is a change I am confident will benefit our students, our teams, our schools, and our community,” noted Dr. Ahart. “A more competitive high school athletic conference will mean more opportunities for success and, as a result, will lead to greater student participation in sports and engagement with their schools.”

Other school districts that have either approved or are considering leaving the CIML to form a new conference include Ames, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Mason City and Ottumwa.

“While DMPS is a founding member of the CIML, the current size of the conference has created challenges in everything from scheduling to decision-making to significant inequities among its member schools. This is the right time to look at a new direction,” said Jason Allen, the school district’s director of activities. “Creating an environment that addresses those concerns will set the groundwork for our students and schools to have more opportunities to succeed.”

Some positive considerations in creating a new conference for DMPS high schools include:

  • More competitive equity between the member high schools;
  • Greater similarities among the member high schools;
  • Increased competition and success that will lead to greater student participation and engagement;
  • Increased competition and success in order to better hire, support and retain coaches;
  • Greater flexibility in decision-making and scheduling within a smaller conference;
  • Maintain historic rivalries between central Iowa high schools.

“We want to see our students compete and win, of course, but most of all we want to see them succeed in school and beyond,” added Ahart. “This change will support those goals and serve as a step forward in one of our district’s top priorities: equity.”

Under the Des Moines School Board’s policy governance process, this decision is left to the Superintendent and does not require a vote of the board.