GREEN BAY - Some coaches and athletic directors are among those pushing the possibility of adding football to Green Bay's five middle schools.
That's a new proposal the Green Bay board was asked to look into Monday night.
However, the new program could come at a cost.
"We have a number of student interest survey's that have been conducted over the last several years and that data suggests that we have a huge desire for football in grades 7th and 8th," explained Green Bay executive director for secondary schools, activities and athletics Mark Smith.
Those behind a proposal to start football programs say data shows the five schools could attract a total of 545 participants.
"First and foremost it's providing equity and access to all of our students and all of our families," Smith said. "Beyond that, it's certainly to improve the quality of football within out area. High school coaches are certainly excited about that. It provides them an opportunity to work directly with the middle schools."
Smith says another reason for the pitch is to stay competitive with other districts in the open enrollment program.
The proposal does come at a cost for the district. It's estimated to cost $203,040 to start up and $73,640 annually.
"I can't tell you where the money will come from," explained school board president Brenda Warren. "However, like board member Andrew Becker said, having a football program, a strong program is something we hope will keep some of our students in our district that may be leaving for other districts and potentially attract new students."
The Great Lakes Independent Football Conference runs youth club teams. Conference officials worry the school district's program could cost them players.
"It remains to be seen just how much," explained conference president Paul Ihlenfeldt. "We offer an alternative to the middle school football program. I hope we can work together with them. We haven't discredited anything they're saying. We understand it's for the kids, and so whatever is best for those kids."
The proposal still needs approval from the full school board before it can move forward. The board is expected to take up the plan at its meeting next week.
If approved, the Green Bay program would start this fall.
Several area school districts provide a similar program.
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