Board Punts On Coach Question

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The Payson Unified School District board on Monday decided to let the superintendent decide on a case-by-case basis whether to let administrators serve as coaches.

The decision lets the board sidestep vocal complaints from parents at a previous meeting. The parents protested that a proposed policy change would prevent Julia Randall Elementary Principal Will Dunman from coaching girls softball. The issue came up as the board debated a revised extracurricular salary schedule that included band and drama directors along with coaches.

Prepared for the crowd this time, board member Devin Wala read from a statement.

“I spent a good time trying to figure this out,” he said. “The critical test lies between the power of the board and the responsibilities of the superintendent ... the responsibility for the staff is in control of the superintendent.”

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Devin Wala

Wala said a search of the Internet showed that in other districts the superintendent decides whether principals can coach teams. However, said Wala, in many cases superintendents then decide not to let principals coach, generally on the grounds they have too much to do.

“This did not make the parents happy,” said Wala.

Other board members fell in line behind Wala, saying the superintendent should make staffing decisions.

“The bottom line of all of this is that the super can move his employees and staff to best fit where the goals of this district will be reached,” said Jim Quinlan, “... by not having a policy, it allows flexibility. To infringe on the superintendent’s authority is not our job.”

“We ought to back the superintendent’s actions, I’m telling you that now,” said board member Rory Huff.

The board then voted to pay the stipends from grant money instead of the district’s operations budget and removed from the policy a sentence that said: “Employees paid from the Administrative Sal­ary Schedule are not eligible for positions or pay on Extra­curricular Pay Schedule.”

The policy now covers coaches, activity directors, student council advisers, department chairs and other positions.

Quinlan agreed it was time to give those teachers that take on the responsibility of coordinating department curriculum and staff an added bonus, a change that the new Payson High School Principal Brian Mabb had suggested.

“I commend Mr. Mabb for even bringing this up,” he said. “We have asked department heads to do a lot with no compensation. With the work involved, you have to have quality people as department heads leading that group — $500 is not that much considering what they do.”

Board president Barbara Under­wood said the district had paid stipends for department chairs in the past, but budget constraints had stopped the practice.

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