Charter School student eligibility causing more than a stir
There may be two hurricanes surfacing Marco Island on Monday. The first is Isaac, barreling down on Florida. The second is Marco Island Charter Middle School's student eligibility policy.
The special meeting is set for 6 p.m., but may be changed due to Isaac.
Charter Principal George Abounader said the tentative date change is 6 p.m. on Thursday. However, that is the same time the football team will be playing its season opener at home against Community School at Winterberry Park. It would also mean that interested parties will have to choose between the game and the meeting.
Six football players were ruled ineligible because of a poor grade, or two, in the last six-week report card period in the last school year. If the student is still at Charter School then the ineligibility carries over to the next school year and runs to November.
If the student receives two D's or an F in one report card period the student is ineligible. It does matter what the student's grade-point average is overall.
Athletics is the only sport covered under the policy as things like band are a class and receives a grade. The Charter School grade-point average that also needs to be maintained is 2.25.
In the case of all six players their overall grade-point average for the year ranged from 2.7 to 3.2, said Greg West, a Charter School assistant football coach. His son Zach is on the team and is eligible. At the high school level, and across the state, the GPA is 2.0 and eligibility is determined by the overall performance, not one report card period, according to Matt Kuk, Lely High activities director.
West said he checked with privates schools, First Baptist Academy and Community.
"First Baptist Academy is 2.0 and Community is 2.5," West said. "(At Community) If a student slips below 2.5 in a core subject, which is a C, the student is placed on probation. If the student's grade drops to a D, the student is immediately ineligible. The student's grades are monitored daily and if the grade goes back to a C the student is immediately eligible."
Roger Raymond, the school's athletic director, sat in on the meeting 16 years ago when the policy was created.
"The intent of the policy was never to keep students off an athletic team," he said. "At the time when it was created there was no charter school model to follow. It (the policy) was to strive to keep kids eligible."
Abounader said the meeting is to determine whether the school's existing athletic policy has, or is being administered equally or selectively and if appropriate to search for or incorporate remedies to the existing policyt to take certain mitigating circumstances into consideration while enforcing the existing policy.
Abounader said, "My sense is that if the board determines that the school needs a process that will assist the school in enforcing the existing policy, especially when mitigating or extenuating circumstances are brought forward, they will establish one."