VILONIA — Changes in next year’s block scheduling at Vilonia High School may result in some students being forced to make a choice between band and athletics. However, school officials said they believe the change will affect few and is best for the majority.

"We are looking at the whole picture," said Dr. Frank Mitchell, school superintendent, addressing the Board of Education on Monday night asking for their support to make changes to the current "4-by-4" block scheduling which was originally implemented in the 1994-95 school year. 

He proposed changing class times, allowing five blocks and moving the band and athletics in the same block, saying the changes will provide flexibility and greater educational opportunities for all students. 

"It is hard to change but we can make this work," he said. 

About an hour into discussion, the board voted unanimously in support of the changes. Prior to the vote, however, a couple of board members including Mike West and Mark Samuelson offered input. 

"We’ve got to move forward," West said. "That’s my two-cents worth."

Samuelson followed up by saying, "We are at a point where you have to make choices. This choice is driven by academics."

Based on past and projected numbers, Mitchell anticipates, the changes may affect 10 to 12 students — concerning making a choice between athletics and band. However, he said, plans are already in the works, and hopefully head off some potential scheduling conflicts.

See more details of the meeting in Thursday’s Log Cabin Democrat.