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Early release for seniors on Wednesday’s agenda

By Bryan Richardson

The fate of Manhattan High senior early release will be decided by the USD 383 school board during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Robinson Education Center.

The recommendation by the administration is to continue senior early release through the next school year. Current policy dictates seniors only need to be on track for graduation and have parental approval to be eligible.

MHS seniors during their second semester have the option of not taking first period, seventh period, first and second periods, sixth and seventh periods or first and seventh periods.

Last spring, 120 seniors took two periods of late arrival and/or early release and 79 seniors took a single period for late arrival or early release. That represented 51 percent of MHS’s 383 seniors in the 2011-12 school year.

By the 2014-15 school year, the recommendation would call for the school district to set a definition of college and career-ready to be used for considering when students seek to graduate early or utilize senior early release.

In a parent survey, 345 out of 400 parents — 86.3 percent — agreed with the statement that “seniors in their second semester at Manhattan High School should be able to continue enrolling in 5 or 6 classes rather than 7 classes.”

The board will also listen to a report on the Bishop Stadium artificial turf project. The board approved a plan by the MHS Booster Club that involves the district contributing $200,000 over five years and getting $645,790 in private donations to fund the project.

On the consent agenda, a problem mentioned by Lee Elementary principal Nancy Kole is being addressed. The approximately 10 students who live in the Garden Way area will start receiving bus service Monday if the item is passed.

During the Nov. 14 site council reports, Kole said students walking from the Garden Way area had many hazards to face. According to district policy, an area can’t have bus service if it’s within 2.5 miles of the school unless it was established as a hazard area.

In another consent agenda item, the hazard area designation for the River Trail addition is slated to end after winter break. Work on an overpass with a pedestrian barrier from Walnut Street across K-18 has been completed. The 13 students who live there are approximately one-and-a-half miles from Ogden Elementary.

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