ERIE - Mason Senior High School students who fail to maintain at least a C- grade-point average won't be able to participate in extracurricular activities.
The Mason Consolidated school board last week narrowly rejected a recommendation from the superintendent to lower the minimum grade-point average from 1.7, or C-, to 1.5 for eligibility to participate in sports, band, and other extracurricular activities.
Board President Sandra Dobbs and board members Ken Sieg, Wynne Phillips, and Mike Ginther voted against changing the policy.
Mrs. Dobbs said lowering the bar doesn't encourage academic excellence.
"Because we want the highest expectations from our students, lowering the grade-point average wasn't in the best interest of our students," she said. "Athletics are a privilege."
Mason Consolidated school board members Jacki Clark, Denise Gale, and Larry Guinn voted in support of lowering the grade- point eligibility requirement.
Under the proposal from Superintendent David Drewyor, adjusting the grade-point average to 1.5 would allow students who are on the fence academically to remain active in sports, band, and other extracurricular programs.
School officials said the current policy takes away eligibility from students who earn four C- grades and one D + in a semester.
The school district policy requires that students who failed to maintain a 1.7 grade-point average are considered ineligible for 60 days. However, students may regain eligibility by making up the difference in the subjects.
Under the Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, students must pass four out of five classes to stay eligible for sports.
In comparison, Bedford Public Schools' eligibility policy requires that students have a minimum 2.0, or C, grade point average to take the court or compete on the field.
Bedford High School Athletic Director Bill Regnier said students struggling academically are given tutoring to help lift their grades.
"If they don't improve in a week, then they are off the team at that time. We try to work with them. They are in school for a reason. They have to be here for a reason," he said.
Yet board member Mr. Guinn, who has been the physician for the football team for 26 years, said small schools like Mason Senior are hampered in trying to field teams.
"We got 14 kids dressed for football. With injuries and everything else, we got some kids who could be playing football, but their GPA won't allow them," he said. "We want to both educate the children. We also want to promote our athletic programs."