The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees voted Monday to approve 58 supplements for teachers who coach or sponsor extracurricular activities, but the board argued over them for nearly an hour.
Board member Jason Spears led the charge against the supplements.
Before the meeting’s agenda could be adopted, Spears motioned that discussion of supplements be tabled due to several “errors” he noticed while examining the supplement requests CMSD Superintendent Dr. Philip Hickman presented to the board. Board member Glenn Lautzenhiser seconded his motion. Before a vote was taken on Spears’ motion, discussion ensued.
Spears said he was concerned that assistant football coach Michael Kelly was set to receive a $6,500 supplement to be the defensive coordinator and a $3,500 supplement to be a position coach.
“So, he’s basically being two individuals,” Spears said of the dual roles. “Do we have two Michael Kellys on the football team coaching staff?”
“No, we do not,” Hickman replied, explaining that the head football coach had asked that the two roles Kelly will fill be broken out.
“OK, so that’s incorrect,” Spears said.
Spears also raised concern that athletic director Ben Moore was not labeled as “interim” on the document, which Hickman acknowledged and asked his staff to change for the record. Moore has also agreed to retake his position as head boy’s soccer coach for next year on an interim basis. Spears disagreed with the idea of Moore receiving a $9,000 supplement to be interim athletic director and a $2,100 supplement to coach the soccer team.
Currie Fisher then made a substitute motion that the board approve all supplements Spears had not labeled “incorrect.” When she asked him to say which supplements were incorrect, he began to read through the entire list.
“What I’m asking is, show me,” Fisher said. “Show me what is incorrect.”
“Page one, page two, page three,” Spears replied as he slowly turned the pages of the supplements.
“No sir, I have the same pages you have,” Fisher said. “Mr. Spears, I would ask that you try to deal with this as intelligently and business-like as possible. What you’re saying is not proof that anything is incorrect. What you’re saying is your opinion and your desire. What I’m asking is, what is incorrect?”
Before Spears’ motion could be voted on, Fisher motioned that the supplements stay on the agenda as scheduled. That motion was seconded by board president Angela Verdell and passed 3-2. Spears and Lautzenhiser were opposed.
After half an hour of deliberation, the agenda was approved.
When the Office of Personnel was reached in the agenda, supplements again were challenged.
Board member Stephen Jones motioned that “interim” be attached to the titles of athletic director and athletic supervisor, a role that will be filled by former boy’s basketball coach Sammy Smith, and that the defensive coordinator be listed as receiving one $10,000 supplement and that each supplement be approved on an individual basis to ensure they were each OK. Jones’ motion passed 3-2.
Members of the CMSD school board then realized that this would require them to go through 58 unique supplements for coaches and club sponsors one-by-one. Jones made a motion that his previous motion be rescinded and that changes to correct errors be made and the supplements be voted on as a group.
That motion died at a 2-2 vote. Fisher abstained.
“This is the most convoluted process I’ve ever seen,” Fisher explained. “I refuse to take part in this vote.”
As a result, 58 individual motions were made, seconded and voted on in a process that lasted 45 minutes.
Each supplement was approved at its original value.
In other matters
The CMSD board heard a presentation from Perry Hendrix with the YMCA about adding an after-school program year-round at Joe Cook Elementary School that would provide homework help and physical activities. The schools would not be charged, simply provide the space.
Hendrix said the program would eventually spread throughout the district. The board took no action, as a contract has yet to be drawn up, but were receptive to the program, which will be voted on in July.