Trinity students target board decisions
12/18/2009 3:32 AM
Students at Trinity High School are organizing protests to support administrators and coaches after the recent school board shake-up.
The school board decided not to renew the contracts for athletic director Ed Dalton and food services director Thomas Sabol. The board also opened all fall coaching positions.
Trinity football player Ben Brownlee, a senior, said several protests are being planned. On Tuesday, students are being asked to not buy lunch in support of Sabol, he said.
"I see no reason for the termination of the food services director. This issue, like all new legislation brought about by the new school board, is shrouded in mystery," Brownlee said.
Students also are planning a sit-in on Jan. 6, the day before the next school board meeting, he said. Students will leave class at a designated time during the day and report to the auditorium to show the school board that support for Dalton and the rest of the fired staff has not been lost, he said.
Dalton's contract, which ends June 30, guarantees him a teaching position at the top of the pay scale if he is not kept on as athletic director.
Trinity senior and volleyball player Lauren Billie said she's supporting the efforts because of the type of man Dalton is.
She said after the volleyball coach resigned, Dalton asked her to sit in on the interview of the coaches and asked her thoughts about who to hire.
"As much as people would like to say this fight is only about football, they are sadly mistaken," she said. "This fight is for an extraordinary man who was wronged by a group of rookies with a one-track mind."
School board member Scott Day said the students are entitled to their opinions.
"I'm glad to see them involved and see how the school board works," he said.
Day said he knows there's a lot of emotion and passion from parents and students.
"If they have valid points, I'll be more than happy to talk to them," he said.
However, he said, the board made its decision for a specific reason. Day said he's concerned about nepotism at Trinity.
He said decisions were made at the meeting when new members were seated because of "time constraints."
The board was told by Acting Superintendent R. Tim Marks that if the coaching positions were not being renewed, the coaches had to be notified within 60 days of their last event, Day said.
The Trinity teachers contract states that a coach must be notified in writing within 90 calendar days after the completion of the sport if they are being discharged. Day said he asked for clarification of the 60 days and 90 days but said it wasn't made clear so the board made the decision at the Dec. 10 meeting.
Because some of the last sporting events were in October, the January meeting would have been to late to open the positions if coaches had to be notified within 60 days, Day said.
However, Marks said Thursday that he had "no discussion whatsoever" with the board about Dalton, Sabol, the coaches or anything else added to the Dec. 10 meeting agenda.
All the coaches can reapply for the positions, and if they are the best candidate, they will get the job, Day said.
The directors must be given at least 150 days' notice if their contracts are not being renewed, Day said.
Day said he anticipates that the winter and spring coaching positions will be opened up for the same reason.
He said the situation could have been handled better as far as notifying Dalton and others.
Dalton's contract can be viewed at http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/behinddesk/.
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