The State Board of Education today continued its discussion of changing eligibility requirements for student athletes. The board’s current policy sets a minimum standard which requires students to pass four out of five classes to remain eligible for extra-curricular activities. The board heard this morning from school administrators from Newton, Davenport, Ottumwa and Waterloo on their eligibility rules. Only one of the schools, Ottumwa, uses the state standard. Gene Vincent of Carroll is the chair of the state board.Vincent says he was impressed by what the schools are doing, because they go beyond athletics and put standards on all curricular activities. Representatives of each of the four school districts said they want the board to leave the decision on standards up to each individual district. The Board has discussed the issue for several years and Vincent wants to bring it to a vote at their November meeting. Vincent says they’ll look at different options, from leaving it the same to instituting a minimum two-point-oh g-p-a requirement. Discussion among the board members has been mixed over whether they should make a change, but Vincent says they have one thing in common.He says the board is unified in their desire to have high expectations for students — they just differ in the best way to get there. Vincent says the vote in November will hopefully decide the issue.The state board has jurisdiction only over athletics and their decision will not directly impact other activities such as band. But the leaders of the high school music and other associations traditionally adjust their rules so there’s an even standard for sports and other activities.
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