Hayden A high school committee and the school's faculty have different views on student athletic eligibility as the school tries to revamp its policy for next fall.
Since last July, school officials have been examining the eligibility requirements for athletics. The issue is a controversial one for the community, said school board member Kelly Hayes.
"The community is split on this issue," Hayes said. "Some people want no change, and others do want change."
The sentiment in the community mirrors the proposals submitted by the High School Improvement Committee and the school's teachers.
Principal John Schafer and the improvement committee have come up with new requirements for eligibility. When Schafer passed on the committee's recommendation to the school's faculty earlier this month, the proposal was not accepted by the teachers.
"We need to take some time to have something everyone can live with," Schafer said. "I don't want a policy 25 staff members are against, but at the same time I don't want to cave into them either."
Schafer is hopeful a compromise can be worked out between the committee and faculty by the school board's Feb. 21 meeting.
Currently, the school's eligibility policy says a student can participate in athletics if he or she maintains a 2.0 grade-point average. The student's eligibility is checked at the end of every quarter.
Schafer and the committee are proposing to do away with the GPA requirement, report eligibility weekly and not allow a students to play if they are failing any class.
"Right now with the 2.0 requirement, a student can be failing a class but still play," Schafer said. "(However) a student not failing a class but with six C's and one D would not be able to play because of the GPA requirement."
The committee believes it is fair to do away with the GPA standard as long as a student who is failing a class cannot compete, he said.
The committee also would like to report eligibility on a weekly basis. Currently, eligibility is reported at the end of each quarter. If a student is ineligible at the end of a quarter, he or she must sit out the next quarter.
With a weekly report, a student who does not meet the academic requirements would be ineligible just for a week. Schafer believes students who may be failing one week would work harder the next week to raise their grade.
"The weekly report would give an incentive to the students who are struggling in the classroom to do better," he said.
The high school's teachers have countered with their plan. They want to keep the GPA requirement and the quarterly reporting. However, they do agree with the committee that students failing any class should be ineligible to play sports.
The teachers want to keep the GPA standard because they feel that eliminating it would lower the school's academic standards, said John Svoboda, a high school teacher.
"If we are lowering standards for athletics and the rest of the state is increasing academics, we are going the wrong way," said Svoboda, who is also the school's wrestling coach.
The teachers also are in favor of keeping the quarterly reports because there are too many variables that could happen in one week, he said.
"We use to have weekly reports," Svoboda said. "But it was unfair because it could take away a key player from a team for a week. It can impact the team weekly. If it is done quarterly, it does not impact the team."
Svoboda also believes reporting eligibility weekly could penalize student athletes who are sick during a week or who struggled in a class for a few days.
"If you go quarterly, it smoothes out the ups and downs the students may have had during the quarter," he said. "By using the quarter, it allows for the student's grades to average out."
Svoboda also pointed out that high school teachers provide weekly progress reports to school administration and coaches.
"We are in the education business," Svoboda said. "Not in the athletic business. Athletics have to be the motivation for students to do good in the classroom."
Superintendent Scott Mader believes this issue is significant for the district because athletics teach students discipline, hard work, team work and leadership skills.
"Are we going to leave kids out?" Mader asked.
Schafer is hopeful the improvement committee, which consists of administration, students and parents, can meet with the teachers before the next school board meeting and come to an agreement.
"Hopefully, we can make a recommendation to the school board," Schafer said of the Feb. 21 meeting.