The Western Dubuque school board approved the switch from the Wamac Conference to the Mississippi Valley Conference by the slimmest of votes, 3-2, at their meeting Monday night.
The new Liberty High School in North Liberty also will be joining the MVC for the 2018-19 school year as the conference grows from 14 schools to 16.
This will be the first major change in the Mississippi Valley Conference since 1992, when Regis, Cedar Falls, Waterloo West and Waterloo East joined the league. Xavier joined the MVC in 1998 when Regis and LaSalle merged to form one high school.
There was considerable debate at the Western Dubuque school board meeting before a roll-call vote was taken. The first school board member voted against the move, but the next three members voting in favor to approve the measure, ending the suspense. The fifth and final member voted no, but did not affect the outcome.
"It was a 3-to-2 vote, so a little bit close, but still a majority said yes, so we're on our way to the MVC to be up and running by 2018-19," Western Dubuque athletic director John Hlubek said in a telephone interview shortly after the meeting.
"It was the last item on our school board agenda and the room was packed," he said. "It was what everybody was waiting to see. There were a few people that think it's not the right move and there were a lot of people who thought it was the right move.