- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

MULVANE, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas school district will continue to allow senior citizens to use an indoor walking track and fitness center during school hours, despite some parents’ concern about their children’s safety.

The Mulvane school board voted this week to allow anyone over 55 to use the indoor track and two fitness areas at Mulvane Grade School, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/Sdx4oU ).

Mulvane district spokesman Tom Keil said the board voted unanimously Monday night to authorize its attorney to negotiate an agreement with the Mulvane Recreation Commission over public use of the track and two fitness studios. A security assessment also will be completed.

The walking track and fitness studios were part of a $13.4 million bond issue approved by voters in 2012 to construct a new gym, classroom areas and other facilities in a building connected by a corridor to the school. The walking track and fitness studios are leased by the recreation commission and have separate entrances from the school. Members do not have access to the gym or other parts of the school during the school day.

About 40 senior citizens currently use the track, which looks down on the school’s gymnasium.

Keil has said it was made clear in the year leading up to the vote that the grade school gym, track and fitness studios would be shared with the public.

Monica Cross, a Mulvane mother of three, said she and some other parents took their children out of physical education class and other gym activities Tuesday over concerns for their security.

The school sent an email to the parents Wednesday saying any student not in class will get an unexcused absence and “will not receive PE participation points.”

“The board made their decision, so I guess it’s just over,” Cross said. “I mean, what do you do? It’s just shocking. I feel like we read about safety (concerns) in everything, and that was the issue here. It’s just a difference of opinion.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com