by David Tesitor, Sports Editor
I have made it a point during the past seven months to bring you the sports in an uplifting and positive fashion. After all, it’s all about the kids. Unfortunately, I cannot be uplifting and positive in view of the recent turn of events.
These are the facts as they stand since the last Re-1 school board meeting. First, the district is without an athletic director. Second, there are no football or volleyball coaches in place. Third, the board voted 4-2 against hiring Gaye Davis as athletic director at zero dollars in compensation. Fourth, the board seemed surprised when questioned about the current coaches (all sports, all seasons) not being recommended for the current year. These are but a few of the points, which need to be addressed.
There was considerable discussion about Davis and about the former AD Pete Gomez, whose contract expired at the end of May and the affordability of renewing his contract. Acting Superintendent, Pat Martinez, recommended Davis to replace Gomez as athletic director. Davis agreed to work the position, along with her other duties, with no compensation. The compensation for the AD is budgeted at $5,500, and Gomez received additional salary under the 110 system. Rather than accept Davis’ offer, board member Art Ortiz began discussion about the legitimacy of the process. Board President Jackson indicated Davis’contract included grant writing, project management and facilities management. He worried that she could not do this added duty responsibly and about her qualifications and time commitment. Davis responded, “My contract expires at the end of June. I serve at the luxury of the board and you hired me as a grant writer.” In fact, the board was reminded that three months earlier, the board voted against hiring her as project and facilities manager.
It seems to me the board is not acting in a prudent and judiciary manner by turning down an offer which helps their budget constraints and choosing instead to pay someone to do this job. Those members voting against hiring Davis included, Art Ortiz, Santiago Bobian, Robert Duran and Jesse Jackson.
The ramifications of their indecisiveness are far reaching. Without coaches in place, the students will be behind in their training and conditioning. The teachers who work around the programs and who volunteer after school duties cannot plan. The basketball, baseball and track coaches have not been told their contracts will be renewed and will be working on blind faith they will have a job. One of the duties of the athletic director is to recommend having these coaches in place before the school year begins.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the district loses Davis, whose grant writing skills have been an tremendous asset to this community. As of yet, the sports complex remains an oval of dirt and mud and the prospect of the state of the art facility envisioned three years ago is being lost. Without grants, the board will need to look into creative ways to finance these projects. And yes, we as taxpayers may foot the bill. I feel this board needs to do what they were elected to do; that is be prudent with the money allocated, set aside personal agendas and work for the benefit of the kids.
If you want input on how your taxes are being spent, then come to the next board meeting, July 8 at 6:30 pm at the administration building on 7th Street.