Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bob Dunning: A sorry ending to a sorry affair

From page A2 | March 14, 2014 |

AN UNCOMFORTABLE ENDING … oddly, the same school board that two weeks ago unanimously suggested mediation was the way to go with the dispute between the family of former trustee Nancy Peterson and Davis High volleyball coach Julie Crawford, did an about-face Thursday night and agreed to uphold the dismissal of Crawford as head coach of the DHS boys volleyball team … after all, what would there have been to “mediate” if the board felt Crawford was unfit to coach, as Thursday night’s vote indicates? … this didn’t have to be a black-and-white decision where a young and successful coach had her passion ripped away from her at an early stage in her career …

Trustees Sheila Allen, Tim Taylor and Susan Lovenburg voted to end Crawford’s Davis High coaching career, almost certainly for good, while only Gina Daleiden saw otherwise … but then, in a head-scratching attempt to blunt the criticism that is certain to come their way, board members specifically “directed that Julie Crawford be permitted to apply for any future coaching positions” at Davis High School … in other words, this appeal dealt only with the boys volleyball coaching position …

The girls season is already over and that coaching position will be open in the fall … Crawford will be allowed to apply for that position, and, presumably, for the boys job next winter … which is more than a charade, given the board’s clear vote against Crawford Thursday night … they may as well have said she can apply for the football head coaching job next fall as well … any way you slice it, it’s a sad day to be a Blue Devil …

VOICE OF REASON … only board president Gina Daleiden had the wisdom to suggest the board needn’t have gone for the jugular in this instance, but her one vote wasn’t enough to carry the day … said Daleiden: “I do believe our district’s response needs to be in proportion. I do believe in this instance the district went Code 3 on something that maybe did not warrant that. I did not find a preponderance of evidence to support (the administration’s) findings and conclusions.” …

Daleiden also spoke sharply about “the time, the energy, the money and the attorneys we have put into this type of process.” … Daleiden also noted that she would have liked to see the issue “resolved at a lower level,” but nobody on the board publicly suggested the outside investigation was a monumental waste of money, so don’t be surprised if we see other such expenditures in the future … as for that costly 72-page report, it remains under lock and key, never to see the light of day …

CONFLICT OF INTEREST … among the several billion “comments” this newspaper has received following news stories, op-eds, editorials, columns and letters to the editor about V-gate, there was one that truly stood out … “We should change the rules and not allow anyone with a child in the school district to be on the school board,” the short but sweet guided missive begins … “This is done in other areas. This micromanaging and over-entitled attitude by the board is out of line. A board composed of community members who have no direct tie to the schools would be better for all involved.” …

Well, yes and no … first off, in a town like Davis, if you limit school board membership to those who don’t have a kid in the public schools, you’ve dramatically narrowed the field of potentially capable candidates … it’s almost like not allowing City Council members to live in town, given that any decision they make can potentially benefit them in some way …

Conflict of interest doesn’t always have to be financial … if you get your street paved first or your tree trimmed in a timely manner, that’s a benefit … if you have a second-grader in the system and you vote to upgrade the high school gymnasium, it might not seem like a conflict, unless that kid grows up to play basketball … there’s no easy answer other than to elect people with integrity, whether or not they have kids attending our schools …

PAYING OUR FAIR SHARE … no matter which side you favored in the V-gate mess that may or may not finally be over, the real scandal here was the cash-strapped district spending 22,000 one-dollar bills to hire three outside attorneys to investigate something that should have been handled in-house from the get-go … still, it’s our district, God love them, and it’s up to us to bail them out, given that bankruptcy filings by public agencies are never pretty …

Since there are 66,000 people in town, all of whom benefit in one way or another from a solvent public school system, the math here works very nicely … if Mrs. Moldenhauer taught me anything during my days as a Blue Devil, it’s that 66,000 divided by 22,000 is exactly three … which means each one of us will need to pony up 33.3 cents to make the district whole … in our family of six, that means four of us will contribute 33.3 cents each from our allowance, while the other two will contribute 33.4 cents, perhaps from selling lemonade on East Eighth Street … if your family has trouble doing the math, give me a call and I’ll put you in touch with Mrs. Moldenhauer …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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