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USD 411 weighs KSHSAA's homeschool participation policy

Staff writer

USD 411 board members debated a policy change the Kansas High School Athletic Association recently made regarding the eligibility of homeschooled students who wish to participate in KSHSAA activities at Monday’s meeting.

KSHSAA’s policy formerly required students to be enrolled part-time to participate in KSHSAA activities.

“A lot of Kansas parents went to the legislature and got KSHSAA to change their policy,” Superintendent John Fast said. “Now a student just has to be enrolled in one class to be eligible, but the schools have been given the option to decide if they want to be lenient or more firm with the rule.”

USD 411 has some homeschooled students who are enrolled in certain classes to help round out their homeschooled curriculum, Fast said. Some homeschooled students also make use of KSHSAA’s policy.

The board plans to follow KSHSAA policy change for the time being, Fast said, however, the board would like to nail down the specifics of USD 411’s policy by the beginning of the next school year.

“We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of both sides,” Fast said. “We want to work with the families, but we don’t the policy to be taken advantage of.”

The board is trying to balance what is fair for all students and serve the needs of each individual student, Fast said.

Goessel has some part-time students who take several courses in a particular academic area.

However, if USD 411 were to stick with the KSHSAA’s rule as is, it might give way to a scenario some might see as unfair.

“It is our intent to try to serve and provide outstanding education to every student who walks through our doors, full or part-time,” Fast said. “We might be a little bit concerned if a student takes the easiest possible class just to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities.”

Under Governor Sam Brownback’s block grant funding, Fast said USD 411 gets “no more, no less” by having homeschooled students enrolled, but it could become a point of concern if the district begins to gets more requests from homeschooled students to participate in KSHSAA activities.

“It means we would have to spread the same amount of funding over more kids,” Fast said. “That part of block grant funding we feel is unfair.

“The jury is still out. For the time being, we are just trying to watch and observe what it means for both full- and part-time students. We want to be fair, and we welcome the community’s input.”

In other business:

  • Board members explored options and possible locations regarding a sign the district wants to erect in honor of notable achievements. Fast said the sign would honor the 2015 volleyball, 2015 scholars bowl, 1988 boys’ basketball, and 1976 boy’s/girls’ cross- country state champions. “KDOT has a lot of regulations when it comes to signage,” Fast said. “So we are looking into putting up the sign on private property or city property, too.”
  • Community Thanksgiving will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Goessel Elementary School gymnasium. Fast said the event is sponsored by the Ministerial Alliance and is free for all community members to attend, but free will donations are encouraged.

Last modified Nov. 16, 2015

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