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home : news : local   April 30, 2016

4/2/2014 8:12:00 AM
Earlville, Leland sports co-op alignment not easy

Tamara Abbey
Mendota Bureau Chief

EARLVILLE — Aligning two schools for co-op athletics hit a few snags this month according to a report by Earlville junior and senior high school principal Rich Faivre to the school board.

Several representatives from Leland attended Monday’s board meeting along with Jason Zaleski, the shared athletic director for the two schools.

Faivre said the schools currently split home games 50-50 but would like to move to a closer cooperation that would have games played at the best facility for the sport. Currently Earlville and Leland are considering some upgrades to athletic facilities as well as complying with Illinois High School Association guidelines. The best-facility approach could save money overall if, for example, only one school upgraded the concession stand for home games.

“It would be nice to get a facility plan for both schools so we can plan,” said Roger Torman, board president. “I think both districts are very interested in improving our grounds.”

The biggest snag came when the two schools considered student eligibility. Currently the schools have very different approaches to how students would remain on the team.

“Another part of it, and this is kind of a hot button topic, our current policy reads if a student fails a class they are ineligible for the next semester,” Faivre said. “Leland was operating under the IHSA standard, which is having a student passing five classes.”

Earlville board members agreed they could amend the policy to allow students to maintain eligibility into the next semester as long as they were passing enough classes by the end of the school year.

Winekauf said his only problem with that would be if a student consistently failed the same class every semester.

“I don’t want to be a school that has some student that’s an all-state soccer player but doesn’t have enough credits to graduate,” he said.

Faivre will ask Leland to amend the policy to include a stipulation that the student must stay on track for graduating while also maintaining eligibility.

The two schools also need to work out other eligibility differences including attendance prior to games and handling suspensions for athletes.

Faivre said they hope to have a policy in place for the 2014-15 school year.

Other business:
** School fees will remain the same except the technology fee. A proposal to raise it from $14.75 per year to $50 did not gain any traction with the board. Winekauf said the district’s costs for computers, wireless access and subscriptions to electronic education services has skyrocketed.

Board members instead suggested an increase to $25 with the understanding the fee may increase again next year.

** Faivre asked the board to consider an incentive for junior and senior high school students that would give them more options during study hall. Ideas include either skipping the first hour or last hour study hall altogether to having a fun period that would not include studying.

Students struggling to maintain passing grades would still receive educational support during those times and students with passing grades would still be able to attend study hall if they wanted the time to complete homework.

Eligibility for skipping study hall would be determined at the end of every week.

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