Student athlete concussions are a hot topic these days, and the Knoxville school board agreed this week to participate in a concussion research project with CTE Hope of Indianola. Participation by athletes will be voluntary – students taking part will have a saliva swab taken before the season, after the season, and after any concussion occurs. The project will begin this spring with the Knoxville soccer teams, and is taking place in conjunction with Harvard Medical School. Superintendent Cassi Pearson says the district is hoping to find out how concussions affect the physically developing body of a teenager. Pearson says the district is also excited to give parents and student the opportunity to take part in the study.
Facing the possibility of layoffs, officials in the Newton Community School district are keeping a close eye on the state legislature this week. Last week, the house and the senate moved forward with education funding bills, a priority for governor Kim Reynolds. The governor had budgeted a 1.5% increase in school funding; the house passed a 1% increase and the senate added an additional $14 million to that amount to address transportation issues in rural districts. While superintendent Bob Callaghan said the district has been planning for a zero percent increase in supplemental state aid, the amount proposed still falls short of meeting the district’s needs. NCSD teachers are in the midst of a two-year contract, with a guaranteed 2 percent raise each year. Balancing the district’s budget may mean layoffs, and district administrators have targeted eight positions across the district to potentially be cut – four at the elementary level, three at the middle school, and one at the high school.