Hold the Press, Hudson School Board Flounders, Football Season Almost Ended Before its First Scrimmage
August 19, 2016
by Len Lathrop
Monday’s school board agenda looked like a pretty nominal one, but a real meeting with serious issues broke out about half way through the evening. Coverage of this school board meeting initially was supposed to appear in the “What the Fox Says” section of the newspaper. But, wow, is this where the management of the school district is heading?
Watching from home on HCTV 21, under new business on the agenda was “Extracurricular Nominations” label as attachment 4 and 5; attachment 4 was for five coaching positions at the Hudson Memorial School. Ben Nadeau made the motion to accept. Stacy Milbouer seconded, and it was approved by the board, 4-0 as Megan Pollard had left the meeting. These types of appointments are almost a regular part of the school board meeting, as people, some teachers and staff, but also outsiders to the school community, are paid for working with Hudson students. These are people who work not just with athletics, but all the clubs and activities that go on at the schools.
Now attachment 5 was before the board, also for extracurricular nominations but at Alvirne High School for a boys’ junior varsity soccer coach and six coaches for the football team, a head coach, two assistant varsity coaches and three freshmen team coaches. Nadeau motioned to accept the attachment, and Lee Lavoie seconded and discussion began.
That’s when the floundering began. Every member of the board had questions and most did not have answers. Chairman Langlais wondered why football coaches were paid more than other sport coaches, just on this attachment, the JV boys’ soccer receives $2,450 while a freshman football coach gets either $4,300 or $3,300. There were no answers offered.
Lee Lavoie believed that the rates were part of the teachers’ contract. Milbonuer, who was the school board member negotiating that contract, did not believe it was, and went on to state that she was very upset that this was coming to the board as the season is set to begin. She stated that this is the third year in a row that this has happened. Milbonuer pointed to the project United Nation adviser who makes, she believes, $4,500 and makes a difference in the way student learn to present to an audience. Langlais agreed with the tardiness of the nomination and looked for a solution. Nadeau withdraws his motion and questioned if these coaches should even be on the field without a contact and would the district’s insurance cover them if something happened.
Lavoie questioned when practice started and used the cross country schedule as a landmark that football could have started. Lavoie spoke with passion that the student/athletes should not be punished for someone else’s error and he made a motion to pass the nominations but it did not receive a second.
Shane Coughlin, student representative to the board, found the contract and checked the attachment. She found that some salary matched and some didn’t, and the number of coaching positions was different. Members looked for a method to correct the problem. All agreed the tables attached to the teacher contract had to be followed, and all were willing to come to a special board meeting when answers were available, as soon as Tuesday during the day.
Speaking with Chairman Langlais Wednesday morning, the football players have been practicing and will have a scrimmage at Campbell Wednesday afternoon, but to be sure everything is covered by either the contract or other documents. Principal Steve Beals and Athletic Director Karen Bonney have been on the field for practices, and, as two of the coaches are under contract with the school as a teacher and a paraprofessional, the play continued.
The school board will be meeting on Thursday to approve a revised attachment that matches the pay rates and staffing positions in the teachers’ contract. Football is alive at Alvirne, but changes are needed to prevent this type of issue in the further.