By Janie Southard
Celina teachers have rejected a memorandum of understanding that would take the top athletic department position from certified teaching to administrative.
By rejecting the proposal, the teachers retain the position as a bargaining chip for the teachers in the upcoming contract negotiations.
Following the retirement this summer of current Dean of Athletics Dan Otten, Superintendent Matt Miller wants to move the position from teacher to administrator.
Miller stated his reasoning at Monday night's board meeting. He said, for example, teachers cannot evaluate other teachers. The athletic dean is not able to do so when dealing with teachers who also serve in supplemental capacities, such as coaching. Also, student discipline and recommendations for student expulsion can come before the athletic head. As a certified position, this cannot be handled.
"On advice from our legal counsel, I prepared a memorandum of understanding moving the position from certified to administrative, which CEA (Celina Education Association) rejected," Miller said. "Unfortunately, it will now have to come up in the negotiations process." Board member Cindy Piper, who was also on the board at the time former Superintendent Hank Smith recommended the athletic director position be eliminated from administrative and become a certified position, voiced second thoughts.
"I can see now that this position needs to go back to administrative because the (head of athletics) simply cannot be everywhere," she said.
Following the meeting, CEA President Phil Long reiterated that the position rightfully, legally belongs as a bargaining unit position.
"The only way it can be changed is through negotiation. Since we are just about to go into negotiations, it's appropriate to leave the position where it is," said Long, who added negotiations will begin June 1.
Board President Tom Rable pointed out to board members and the audience of about 10 district staff members, any delays in resolving this matter, as could occur if negotiations are protracted, will have great impact on next year's sports season including ticket sales.
The athletic head is responsible for scheduling events, post season tournaments, budgeting and contracts with event officials as well as a multitude of other responsibilities. No one has been hired to fill the position.