NEW BREMEN – The resignation of a high school basketball coach and replacement of the high school gym floor dominated Wednesday’s New Bremen Schools Board of Education meeting.
Justin Heitkamp, a 2013 New Bremen high school graduate, expressed dismay at the Board meeting over hearing that Coach Adam Dougherty was resigning as basketball coach. Heitkamp said he played high school basketball and football and had admired Dougherty’s coaching abilities and felt the school had lost a good coach.
“I’m sick and tired of the politics and seeing coaches come and go. You can go ahead and replace all the coaches you want, but it’s not the coach (that is the problem).” Heitkamp said the over-involvement by parents and student lack of discipline contributed to the coach’s resignation. He said (the kids) “are soft, stuck-up kids who do not want to do the work.” Heitkamp went on to say that, when he settles down and marries, it would “take a lot” to make him want to come back to New Bremen due to a culture which resulted in this situation.
There was no comment from the Board of Education members when Heitkamp finished. The school board agenda for that night made no mention of Dougherty’s coaching position, either as a resignation or in the listing of supplemental contracts. His name, however, was on the list of recommended three-year contract renewals as an elementary physical education teacher.
In a follow-up call Thursday morning, Superintendent Jason Schrader said Athletic Director Gary Jones received a resignation letter from Dougherty dated April 16 which said his resignation was effective immediately. In the letter, the former coach thanked Jones for the opportunity to work with the sports teams over the past seven years. Schrader did say the resignation was unexpected. He also said Dougherty’s position as elementary physical education teacher was not affected by this resignation.
Schrader also said the positions of varsity and assistant coaches had been posted, with a deadline of April 30.
As to comments made by Heitkamp, Schrader said, “He was just expressing frustration over the turnover of coaches.”
In other news, the board approved an emergency resolution to waive competitive bidding and enter into a contract with The Final Floor Inc. to repair the entire high school gym floor damaged by water leaks from an overhead air handler. The estimated cost of the project is $82,940 with insurance covering $67,500 of the bill. Athletic Director Gary Jones said the project is expected to begin May 29, closing the gym for five weeks.
K-8 principal Diane Kramer said 61 children had gone through kindergarten screening.
Schrader said 61 seniors will graduate at the end of the school year. The Sunday, May 27, Baccalaureate Service will be held in the James F. Dicke Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. and the commencement exercise will be held in the high school gym at 2:30 p.m. A staff appreciation dinner is set for May 25 from 11:30 to 1 pm in the high school commons.
Regarding personnel actions, there were two classified employee reassignments. Yvette Blaine was reassigned from High School secretary to Treasurer Secretary and Education Management System coordinator. Heather Kuck, current treasurer’s secretary, was reassigned as high school secretary.
The board approved a listing of contract renewals for 14 certified teaching employees, five non-teaching personnel, and supplemental contracts for 55 certified employees. Chad Williams was hired as a 2018 summer technology aide.
The board also accepted the resignation of Zack Nellom, music teacher, at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Schrader said Nellom planned to continue pursuing a degree. He thanked Nellom for his three years of service saying he had done a great job as band director.
In Board also approved treasurer recommendations to:
• Allow payment the general fund paid bills of $70,973 and the lunchroom fund paid bills of $4,946.02
• Allow TriStar administration to purchase any item over $7,500
• Transfer of $2,500 to the band uniform set aside fund and $1,000 to the choir robe set aside fund.
• Accept the 2018 Tax Rates and amounts by the Budget Commission of Auglaize County of a totaling $3, 508, 574 from various millages.
The board then went to executive session. No action was taken.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.