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Yorkville

Yorkville School Board moves to clarify non-student participation policies

Yorkville School District 115 Superintendent Tim Shimp talks during the April 29 school board meeting at Yorkville High School library on Game Farm Road.
Yorkville School District 115 Superintendent Tim Shimp talks during the April 29 school board meeting at Yorkville High School library on Game Farm Road.

YORKVILLE – Things just got a little clearer for non-public students who want to participate in Yorkville High School athletics.

During a May 20 meeting, the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education approved an update to the district's general policy that sets requirements for non-public students who want to participate in public school activities.

Superintendent Tim Shimp said the request came after a student attending Grace Holistic Center for Education in Yorkville approached school officials about enrolling part-time at Yorkville High School to participate in Illinois High School Association, or IHSA, athletics.

Shimp said the district put policies in place after the school board was approached in 2012 by a home schooled student who wished to paritcipate on the Yorkville High School track team. However, Shimp said school officials wanted to have the current school board revisit the policies due to turnover on the board over the past several years.

“So we’re just trying to make it clearer for our public for it to be in our general policy,” he said.

According to the policy, non-public students participating in public school extracurricular activities must be enrolled in at least five classes from an accredited program, which is an IHSA minimum participation requirement. Three of those five classes must be in English, math, social studies or science and the student must attend a minimum of four periods at Yorkville High School.

The policy also says weekly reports of eligibility from non-Yorkville High School classes must be submitted to the school's athletic department during the season. Students and their guardians also are subject to all fees, policies, regulations and rules that apply to other participants in the activity.

Shimp said the district doesn't have any students in this type of situation currently. He said it's very infrequent for it to happen and, if anything, the school might, on a rare occasion, get a home schooled student who would want to participate in band.

Shimp said next steps would include IHSA reviewing the district's policy, making certain the student lives within the district boundaries and that the parochial school the student is attending doesn't already offer any activities under IHSA jurisdiction.

He said the IHSA's review is to make certain Yorkville School District 115 isn't illegally recruiting students for IHSA sports.

“Ultimately, IHSA is going to give the final blessing," Shimp said.

Bus stop arms update

Yorkville 115 school board members also received an update on the district's bus stop arm camera safety initiative during their Monday, May 20 meeting.

Lisa Banovetz, business services director for Yorkville School District 115, said there have been 185 bus stop arm violations since December 2018. She said 21% of those offenses were caught on camera.

Banovetz said there were 28 violations from May 1 to 20. There were 29 in December 2018, 29 in January, 38 in February, 22 in March – including spring break – and 39 in April.

“Obviously, we’d like to see those numbers reduced, if not eliminated,” Banovetz said.

Banovetz said Illinois House Bill 1873, which increases the fine amounts for disobeying bus stop arms, has passed both the House and Senate and will go to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. She said the district is happy the bill made it this far.

“Our whole goal is to make sure students are safe when they are transported,” Banovetz said.

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