Mulvane school board makes no changes to gym policy

MULVANE, Kansas – The Mulvane school board on Monday night voted unanimously to make no changes to the current policy on a track at Mulvane Grade School.

The policy allows senior citizens to be allowed to use an indoor track during school hours. That situation makes many parents uncomfortable.

KSN first brought you the story about the Mulvane Recreation Commission dispute and although the ruling hasn’t changed, parents are still upset wanting their voice heard.

The brand new gym has since opened its doors to students and seniors. The district says they’re keeping it that way, despite parents’ continued efforts to change things.

“I am very irritated and frustrated with the school system,” said Kristen Palmer, a concerned parent.

It’s been a hot topic in Mulvane for weeks.

“No contact – indirect or direct – with a child, period,” said Tina Ketcher, another concerned parent.

Parents aren’t backing down this using the school board’s own words against them.

According to current district policy, “The board may allow use of school buildings and school grounds by community groups outside the school day.”

The policy was approved in 2009, about two and a half years before the public vote on the gym.

Parents want to know how the measure passed when it seems to violate the policy.

We found out, the gym is an exception to the rule.

“It’s within their authority to be able to make exceptions to that policy… they can make the kind of exception to allow use during the school day,” said Mark A. Kanaga, associate at Kutak Rock, LLP Attorneys.

The board could go back for a rewrite but it doesn’t matter.

“They’re not required to do so to allow the seniors to continue to use the gym,” said Kanaga.

While parents may have been under the wrong impression, Mulvane district officials say a multi-purpose gym was always the plan to support the $13 million bond initiative.

“Maximizing tax dollars and just being efficient with the resources that we have,” said Tom Keil, Director of HR for the Mulvane School District.

The district says parents concerns were considered from the get-go.

“We had committees that were made up of parents, and teachers, and board members who worked with architects on the design of the building,” said Keil.

As the debate continues, seniors are gaining support.

“How dangerous can they be? and you know, they’re old people wanting to walk,” said Nancy Armstrong, a Mulvane Senior.

“It was the original plan of the gym in the first place so, if you didn’t agree with it, you shoulda voted against it,” said Caleb Hatfield, a Mulvane resident.

Concerned parents tell KSN they are worried about retaliation but say they will continue investigating the possible legal ramifications against the district.

RELATED LINKS: 
USD 263 – Use of School Facilities by Community Groups
Minutes from the Mulvane School Board
The Full Mulvane Board of Education Policy Book

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