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Hennessey school board fields two sports-related complaints

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Hennessey school board members got an earful last Monday night from one of the district’s coaches about inequity in extra-duty pay.

Audience members also heard the complaints due to an agenda hiccup that caused discussion and action on all personnel matters in open session.

“Discrepancies in pay has had my assistant making more than me,” said Matt Means during an agenda item to approve extra-duty assignments.

Means is the head volleyball and golf coach and is also the middle school counselor and assistant principal.

“I request that you bring volleyball (head varsity coach) up to $3,250 (from $2,500),” he said.

“I want things to be right…We’re paying one volunteer (in another sport) $3,000.”

The upshot of his comments led the board to table the coaching assignments to an executive session at a later meeting.

Means said he understood some sports brought in money through admissions “but volleyball has a gate, too.”

He said football assistants have gone from three to five “and you hired an adjunct (Aly Seng) just to coach…The assistant girls basketball coach was not consulted about hiring the new coach, but three parents were.”

Means said coaches need to get their CDLs so they could drive their own buses. He said he has had to drive junior high and high school basketball teams.

He said the former cross country coach offered to coach boys/girls varsity and sixth grades for $5,000, but was turned down although the extra duty pay schedule is $5,500.

Means referred to Mike Driskill whose resignation/ retirement was announced earlier in the meeting by Supt. Dr. Mike Woods.

Woods explained after the meeting that emergency amendments due to COVID-19 to the state Open Meeting Act allow executive sessions, but if you are going to have any members attending via virtual means, then their names must be listed on the executive session item, and they weren’t.

Woods said school attorney Phyllis Walta caught the error after the agenda was posted.

Board Vice President Joe Garrison, who is still recovering at home from surgery, was the only board member on a virtual site.

Board Clerk Cristopher Choate had also planned to use Zoom, but reached his destination too late to make the meeting.

On-site were President Dr. James Matthew Matousek, Luke Lough and Patrick Griffin.

Driskill’s name also came up when David Tillman, from the audience, asked the board to speak before they took action on a consent agenda item to renew the second year of a five-year contract with Adidas to use its products supplied by Midwest Sporting Goods of Tulsa.

“It’s a disaster,” said Tillman, a school patron and volunteer girls cross country coach.

He asked the board to table the contract until it could be learned “what went wrong” because there are 75 sets of track warmups “still in storage.”

He said the athletic director “shot down a plan to work the issue out” so the school didn’t have to pay for the wrong uniforms.

Tillman said he saw emails from the Adidas representative stating that the rep had made errors.

Matousek asked Tillman where he saw the emails. Tillman said he saw them on Driskill’s computer.

Tillman said there was no purchase order and the design of the warmups “doesn’t fit the kids.” He said all uniforms for all sports should have the same design and color.

“Besides,” Tillman added, “Adidas doesn’t make shorts long enough for the girls to wear.”

He also said the high school girls track team has not had a new set of uniforms in more than 10 years while the boys have had two sets.

Cross country has had one set of uniforms bought in the past 10 years, according to a printed sheet Tillman handed to board members.

“Boys and girls track/ cross country have not had warmups for over 10 years,” Tillman said.

He said he understood Paul Hix, the athletic director and head football coach, ‘said that cross country isn’t even a sport…The rep should have donated them.”

Lough asked Hix, who was at the meeting via Zoom, to comment.

Hix said they switched to Adidas last June after he was hired because of complaints about the previous vendor.

“There are incredible benefits we’ve received from Adidas,” said Hix, “and we’ll probably get about $20,000 in discounts this year.

“Mistakes were made on both parts,” Hix continued. “It was a $6,500 order where we made some mistakes...One coach was good with it and one coach wasn’t.”

Hix said he’d talked with the superintendent about the problem.

Lough asked how many orders they’d placed in the past year.

Hix said about 75-80.

“How many were wrong?” Lough asked.

“Three or four others had to be redone,” Hix said.

After more discussion, the board voted 3-1 to approve the contract with Garrison voting no.

The Midwest contract agrees to give the school a $2,000 credit at retail pricing each year with approval of the Adidas contract.

The Adidas contract shows the school is eligible for 35% off retail prices on footwear, apparel, accessories and uniforms.

It also shows the AD’s office will receive $5,000 a year in promotional products at retail prices and “When school purchases Adidas football uniforms, the annual promotional budget will change to $7,500 a year.”