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USD 355 to allow 6th graders to play junior high basketball next year only
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ELLINWOOD — The USD 355 school board meeting met at its regular meeting on Monday night with four members present and three absent. Those absent included Doll, Billinger and Schlessiger.
Superintendent Ben Jacobs requested that 6th graders be allowed to play on the junior high girls and boys basketball teams for the next school year. He said that there are two small classes, and without the 6th graders, it would be difficult to field a team with enough girl players.
“The goal is to get 15 (players),” he said. There will be enough boys to field teams, but in the interest of the fairness, the board will also extend the offer to boys.
The board approved the measure 4-0 for next year only. This will allow parents to start preparing for summer ball camps.
In other business, around 12 girl high school basketball players and a few parents were present to discuss Coach Ryan Mountain. One adult man said his three daughters had numerous basketball coaches and they all had differences at times with every coach. “Every time I called him, he’s been upfront,” the man said. “The coaches we’ve hired are without a lot of experience. It’s not fair giving them a job and then telling them we need a lot more. He has improved tremendously.
“Every coach occasionally steps over their bounds,” he continued. “Look at the bigger picture.”
“Our season was great,” said a girl team member. “There was no inappropriate use of practice.”
Another girl said, “He is a good coach. You learn lessons along the way. He taught us to apply this to real life.”
Earlier, the girl’s team requested an appointment with athletic director Kip Wilson. The players and managers showed up and all but two students were in support of Mountain.
The board thanked them for coming.
There was no discussion after the students left. “The district cannot discuss matters involving personnel,” said Jacobs.
Larry Drees gave the Ellinwood/School Library Foundation  annual report. The foundation awarded 13 scholarships and seven minigrants.
He said the foundation will begin funding grants up to a $1,000. They also funded the all-staff picnic, a new micro-film reader for the library, and some student activities.
Board members thanked them for all that they do.
Sherri Holmes was awarded the Eagle Excellence Award for classroom work and teacher negotiations outside of the classroom.
In final news, the board:
•Heard a report from Bob Baker that the efficiency in the school buildings was very good, but could be improved.
•Will have facility tours at the next board meeting.
•Jacobs remind everyone that the vote was coming up on the new Ellinwood Recreation Commission on April 2 along with board elections. He encouraged everyone to get out and vote.
•The board spent one hour in executive session with no action taken.