Humboldt and Granville elementary schools will offer after-school wrestling for students in grades 4-6 throughout the district beginning Oct. 14.
The upper elementary grades already offer flag football, volleyball, track and basketball on a Pay-to-Play basis. HES Principal Cole Young said the Pay-to-Play fees should cover the cost of the new wrestling program and he anticipates a high turnout.
Earlier this year, the school hosted a wrestling camp through the Big Bug Wrestling League, Young said. After the camp, about 40-50 HES students expressed an interest in an after-school program. He said middle and high school wrestling coaches would like to see the program initiated at the elementary level.
Board Vice President Carm Staker said her son wrestled in school and she would support the program.
Dan Streeter, Human Resources director, said the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust looked at liability issues and approved the program with signed parental permission, regular safety checks and sanitization of equipment, use of weight classes, more than one adult to supervise practices, and boys would wrestle boys, girls would wrestle girls.
Young said there would be no "full wrestling contact" and no need for headgear.
Board President Rich Adler questioned liability issues and said he didn't think the elementary level was the place to start wrestling.
"I'd rather see more academics. Humboldt has lots of athletic clubs," he said, suggesting a start-up chess club instead. "I can't support this."
The board approved the wrestling program at HES and Granville schools, and coaches' stipends with a 3-1 vote, Adler voting against and board member Gary Hicks absent.
Pay-to-Play fees are $50 per child; $25 for students qualifying for free and reduced lunch program.
Certified teachers will fill the two coaching positions and receive a stipend of $612-$980 per season, depending on years of experience.