NEW BREMEN – The nonrenewal of a contract for Brad Francis as boys varsity basketball coach brought a large crowd and formal complaint from Francis himself to the Wednesday night New Bremen Board of Education meeting.
Francis told the board that Superintendent Jason Schrader, Athletic Director Gary Jones and High School Principal Marcus Overman had never allowed him to tell his side of the problems he had had with the assistant coaching staff.
“All I asked from the assistant coaches was loyalty, trust, competence,and support,” said Francis. He also felt the athletic director did not support him. As an example, Francis said that when assistant freshman coach Tom Howell had challenged his decisions, Jones had not intervened. Further, Francis said the perceived communication problems had resulted in the varsity coach receiving less than perfect scores in his March 19 performance evaluation.
Francis provided a timeline of his efforts to communicate with his coaching staff, saying he had sent 25 emails out to them and responding to almost all calls. However, conflicts continued and he said that Jones asked how Francis would proceed if Howell and other coaches resigned. “Before hearing my side, they (Schrader, Jones, Overman) were not certain my services were needed.”
At the 15-minute time period allotted to Francis ended, he said “I’m not sure if you’ll renew me or not. I am the still the person you hired last May. I think someday Jones and Overman will come to me sometime and say I was treated unfairly.” Francis also maintained that several students will not return to the basketball team due to these problems.
Board president Shelly Busse said his contract had not been renewed, citing philosophical differences, and the position had been posted in a timely manner.
Francis was hired in May 2018, replacing Adam Dougherty, who served as New Bremen varsity basketball coach for seven seasons.
In other business, the Schrader offered recommendations on selected additional options to be added back into the new $20 million elementary school construction. Those alternate options were 1) Unit B Classroom Wing, 2) Site work east of Cardinal 3) Bus parking lot and 4) Main courtyard hardscapes. He added the alternates would be underwritten by local funds. He said the bidding process did not result in enough funding for rest of the 16 options, so would be not be realized unless there was funding left over once the construction of the new building was complete.
Schrader also announced $500,000 had been given to the school district by an anonymous donor and was earmarked for student technologies.
The superintendent also told the board that Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson, were proposing a new school formula that would increase school funding by almost $800 million and could possibly result in an extra $1.8 million for the New Bremen school district in 2023. The idea has not yet been presented as a bill in the Ohio House.
Schrader also said the school district plans to graduate 65 students on May 26. Baccalaureate Services will be at 1:30 p.m. in the James F. Dicke Auditorium and the commencement exercise begins at 2:30 p.m. in the high school gym.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.