Football coaches, finances, celebrations discussed at monthly school board meeting
Teacher awards, cross-country recognition and a letter from a concerned community member were only a few of the highlights of Thursday night’s Moffat County School District board meeting.
This month, the board met in the gymnasium of East Elementary School as a part of the district’s plan to hold its monthly meetings at various schools throughout Moffat County rather than at the administration building where meetings are traditionally held.
The board, school district staff and community members recognized teachers Tiffany Trevenen and Norm Yoast for being recently awarded as Peabody Energy Leaders in Education, and Bill Ronis, who was awarded the Peabody Energy Educator of the Year Award. A round of applause was given for the teachers’ success.
Moffat County High School’s cross-country teams were also acknowledged.
Todd Trapp addressed the board, celebrating MCHS boys and girls cross-country teams for their accomplishment in qualifying for state. The full girls team and boys teams attend the state meet in Colorado Springs Saturday, with seven runners on each team, as well as two alternates for the boys.
It’s the boys team’s first return to the state meet in several years.
“It’s going to be a great learning experience for them to get their feet wet in the state competition, and to come back next year and really do something special,” said coach Todd Trapp of the two underclassmen who qualified.
The runners will depart Friday amidst a big send-off at the high school, concluding with a police escort as they leave town for Colorado Springs.
The tone of the meeting changed during the public comment period.
A tense silence gripped the room as community member Al Cashion waited several minutes for school board members to review his comments regarding the firing of Moffat County High School football coaches.
Moffat County Board of Education President J.B. Chapman stopped Cashion partway into his reading of a five-page, typed letter, citing concerns that the comments violated two aspects of the board’s recently approved policy regarding public comment during meetings.
According to the district policy, members of the public may neither discuss personnel matters nor make any attack on a school board member or district employee.
Following some debate and further review by each of the board members, the board consented to allow Cashion to continue.
“These men have been deprived of income and position and it is easy to assume that their future professional opportunities are now severely jeopardized,” Cashion said. “However, far, far worse than that is the assault, either by willful intention and/or by unbelievable negligence of the administration and individual board members, on the good name of these coaches, their honor and their perceived moral status by persons unfamiliar with them in this community.”
The letter cited perceived contradictions between several district policies and actions taken by the board, suggesting that the football coaches were wrongfully dismissed.
In his letter, Cashion called for board members, MCSD Superintendent Brent Curtice and MCHS Principal Kelly McCormick to publicly admit error in their decision to fire the MCHS football coaches following the hazing incident in June. He also requested a public apology and that football coaches be offered the opportunity to regain their old positions.
Cashion left each board member with a written copy of the letter, which stated his intention to follow up on his comments at the next school board meeting.
Moffat County Board of Education also did the following:
• Heard a presentation from the Traumatic Brain Injury team, which revealed a new manual that was two years in the making.
• Were given a new parent-athlete handbook developed by Athletic Director Mike Mitchell and the activities council.
• Heard a recap of Moffat County Global from Chapman.
• Engaged in fun and lighthearted school visit updates from board members.
• Heard from Curtice regarding the district’s finances. He announced that KC Hume and Darrell Camiletti will be taking turns working with Tinneal Gerber in one-on-one meetings every week to discuss how to address the financial situation.
• Heard an update from an MCHS student council member on the council’s activities.
• Heard a recap of the Meeker field trip from Craig Middle School 8th-graders Caitlin Krause and Hali Rayes.