Sept. 17, 2014
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Middle school administrators provided the board with information about a proposal to divide 7th and 8th grade football into two separate teams. Since 2011, 7th graders have been allowed to participate with 8th graders, and Manhattan's middle schools are the only schools in their league that have 7th and 8th graders on the same football team. With the current number of coaches, potential players have had to be cut from the team because there aren't enough coaches to supervise all of the athletes who would like to participate. An additional coach would be needed at each middle school if separate 7th grade teams were created, and the additional coach would allow more athletes to participate. Other middle school sports already provide separate 7th and 8th grade teams, with the exception of wrestling because athletes compete by weight class. Board member Leah Fliter said she would like to see screening for concussions extended to the middle school level, and other board members agreed. The board approved creating a separate 7th grade football program and planned to discuss concussion screening during the second reading of the item.
Board members were also provided with information for creating a "secure entrance" at College Hill Preschool. The College Hill building had not been included in the list of facility improvements that voters approved with the 2008 bond. The secure entrance would be created in the location of the building's historic bell tower entrance, and a classroom and the administration office would swap locations in order to place the office adjacent to the secure entrance. A handicapped accessible ramp will also be added to the secure entrance. The board's consensus was to move forward with the secure entrance project.