The Davis school board voted this morning — after meeting for nearly three hours in closed session — to grant an appeal to volleyball coach Julie Crawford, whose coaching contract was not renewed following an investigation into a parental complaint.
For more on the complaint, see today’s story on Page B1.
Reading from a carefully worded statement, school board president Gina Daleiden announced that the decision was made on a 4-0 vote, with Nancy Peterson “absent because she recused herself from public comment, closed session and voting on this matter.”
Daleiden added that the district is continuing its efforts to hire an interim coach for boys volleyball as soon as possible. Team tryouts were scheduled to begin Monday, but have been canceled until further notice. The team is due to begin its season on Feb. 28.
“In the meantime, the board encourages the parties to come together to find a reasonable resolution that is in the best interest of the students and the school district,” Daleiden said.
She added that the board hopes to set a hearing on the appeal on or before the regularly scheduled March 6 school board meeting.
Thursday’s 7 a.m. board meeting began with Peterson recusing herself, noting that “a family member is involved in this specific matter.”
However, her husband Rob did speak, saying that while Nancy (as a trustee) is “restrained by confidentiality” and “unable to respond,” he is not. He said “the debate over the variable services agreement for Julie Crawford has been one-sided from the beginning. The coach is allowed to feign innocence and claim that she has no idea why these actions have been taken. The administration and the school board have been allowed to shirk their responsibilities hiding behind the phrases ‘confidential’ and ‘personnel matter.’ ”
He also spoke of “one-sided media accounts of this story. My wife cannot respond, my opinion was never requested. … This board can now choose to take the action it should have (taken) in February 2013, or you can once again attempt to make it go away.”
The trustees also heard comment from several speakers who urged them to retain Crawford as coach. Tom Cross, who was a Davis High student in the 1980s, said “you can’t just terminate someone’s contract over a personal issue.”
Current student Evelyn Brady described Crawford as “the best coach I ever had.” Student Maya Gilardi said “the complaint came from one parent. … Many others support Julie.” Volleyball player Evan Meerscheidt faulted the timing of the discussion, saying “We found out Saturday that Julie would not be our coach; our season is supposed to start next Monday.”
Parent Olga Simons said, “It is very frustrating for us as parents, we have had no tryouts, and the season is going to start. It is extremely unprofessional on the school board’s part, absolutely unacceptable. The majority wants Julie to be the coach, and start (the season) on time.
“This is the second season it has started late. Everyone in the volleyball community (at other schools) is laughing at us. This has to stop.”