Southern BOE votes to retain girls basketball coach

SALINEVILLE — Southern Local’s board voted unanimously to retain girls basketball coach Mike Skrinjar after a groundswell of support from the community.

Last month parents, students and other concerned community members expressed alarm at the school board meeting after learning the school was considering looking for a new girls basketball coach to replace Skrinjar. Many of those same people attended Tuesday’s board meeting, signing up again to speak if needed about the future of the coach.

The board’s unanimous vote brought applause from many in attendance.

Prior to the vote, the board also heard from Rich Sloan, a coach and proud parent of several student athletes at the school, who said he felt he and his family were targeted after standing up for Skrinjar and described some offensive comments that were made to or in front of his children.

Another parent noted it was unfair for Sloan to have received such a letter asking him to step down from what he does best, simply for standing up for what was right. She continued that the school district is spiraling into becoming a “toxic environment” and the school should be encouraging employees to do their best to help students be successful in life instead of fearful of retaliation.

Both Board President Kip Dowling said the board was unaware of the letter until after it had been sent and Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the school’s administration has rescinded the letter. He called it a chance for everyone to grow and “corrective actions have been taken.”

The vote approving Skrinjar as the girls basketball coach did not list which season he was hired to coach, but after the meeting Dowling confirmed it is for the 2022-2023 season.

Both Sloan and Skrinjar thanked everyone attending the meeting for their support.

In other matters:

— The board approved a list of graduates for the 2021-2022 school year and the five-year forecast for the finances of the district.

— The board approved the retirement of Calvin Sell, custodian, at the end of the school year, as well as the resignation of Lacey Locke as a three-hour elementary school cafeteria monitor.

— The board approved a supplemental contract for Charlie Puckett for stadium maintenance.

— Three-year teaching contracts were granted to Terra Rauschenberg, Karla Calderon, Kyle Exline, Erin Newburn, Jessica Coleman, Victoria Nuske, Matt Gates and Breann Jones, while one-year contracts were approved for Alannah Kutan, Nick Woods, Paige Jackson, Kenadee Pezzano, Elizabeth Callahan, Larry Rudloff and Bob Shansky. Marjorie Hiller was approved for a two-year contract as the central administrative technology specialist.

–The board approved one-year contracts for Abby Dalton and Abigail Monte as intervention specialists for the junior/senior high, as well as added Kylee Maple and Jesse Liggit to the full-time substitute teacher’s list for the 2022-2023 school year.

— Summer school teachers will be Kyle Exline, Zach Almy, Gerard Grimm, Brett Hughes and Kelly Malone.

— Also during the public comment period, a former student athlete voiced his opinion about a time he was pressured into playing injured. He also talked about the time he ended up with appendicitis, but the coach had mistakenly told him he was probably constipated. Finally, he renewed a concern that had been brought before the board by his parent at a prior meeting, that a coach had used a massage gun to get knots from his neck, which he believes has caused him longterm damage. His mother also spoke, stating by the board requiring her to speak about the matter in executive session in the past, she was denied community support for her concerns. She also quit her job with the district and has open enrolled another son elsewhere.

— The board went into executive session at the end of the meeting. The next board meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m., June 14.



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