The Western Brown School Board of Education called for a special meeting on March 6 to discuss staffing in the district.
Following that meeting superintendent Reagan White notified Tim Cook and his wife Lilly that Tim’s contract with the school as Athlaetic Director and Assistant Principal at the high school and Lilly’s contract as assistant principal at the middle school would not be renewed at the end of the 2017 school year.
The response by the community at the news of the non-renewal contracts was huge, and the board’s March 20 meeting had to allow for more space. Over 75 people attended the meeting.
As the meeting began, three people were listed to speak and one signed the guest list to speak, all on behalf of Tim Cook, stating all the reasons they felt his contract should be renewed.
This year marks 33 years that Cook has been employed by Western Brown.
First to take the microphone was Angela Roberts.
“I am from Bethel and I’m here to find out why Mr. Cook’s contract is not being renewed,” Roberts said. “When I heard what happened, I wanted to know everything involved and find out why the board was taking different opinions as to the vote that will eventually happen.”
Roberts said she had spoken to at least three board members and felt she received three different views so she did some research on her own.
She said she was told by a board member that Mr. Cook wanted to more hands on, but had handed in a list of his goals that extended to 2019. She also said that if the Cooks were planning to leave why wasn’t a proper exit plan put into place, making the transition easier on everyone, expecially the kids at the school.
Other speakers included James Taylor, Barry Henderson and Scott Moore.
Each stood in front of the board members expressing their confusion and disapproval of the boards planned actions. The talked about renegotiating contracts, new directions for the district, loosing a lot of experience and expertise. It was mentioned by Mr. Taylor that rehiring the Cook’s could save the school as much as $178,000 and not rehiring the couple is not in the best interest of the school district.
The board had no response on the matter but assured everyone in the room that they would consider everything that had been said. They will make their final decision in May.
In other business at the meeting, following an executive session, the board accepted a retirement letter from Lois Greene, middle school head cook, and letters of resignation from Banon Swartz, high school assistant track coach and Garry Powell, 4th grade teacher.
Other actions included:
• non-renew supplemental coaching and advisor/sponsor contracts;
• approve OHSAA basketball personnel;
• approve spring sports volunteers, Tyler Spitznagel, David Bickett and Shane Bishop;
• approve Kasey York as high school volunteer assistant JV softball coach;
• approve Heather Cooper high school principal, Debra Bernhardt, elementary school assistant principal, Stella Bernhardt, cafeteria supervisor, Andrea Debord assistant special education supervisor;
• approve David Pelphry, assistant track coach, Sue Purtell, Jr. High girls track coach and Brandon Drew, middle school 6th grade math teacher.