Board delays vote on coaching rules

August 18, 2009

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Board of Education will wait to vote on a proposal that would require school administrators to rewrite the regulations that govern the eligibility requirements, hiring process and evaluation of coaches for extracurricular activities.

On Tuesday, the board voted 6-0 to remove the proposal from the agenda.

Board member Justin Hartings asked that the proposal be tabled, saying he received comments from "a number of citizens" who believed the board should discuss the issue further before taking a vote.

Ed Masood, supervisor of athletics, health and physical education for Washington County Public Schools, said earlier this month the proposal would rewrite the regulations to streamline cumbersome language.

According to board documents, the proposal would shift the responsibility of developing "administrative regulations that govern coaches" from the board to the superintendent of schools.


Board member Donna Brightman said during an Aug. 4 meeting she believed school officials were rushing to vote on the proposal.

"I'm supportive that it's being tabled," Brightman said after Tuesday's meeting. "It's up to us to ensure that the citizens have input."

Brightman said she hopes residents give their feedback to the board before the next meeting on Sept. 1.

Hagerstown resident Jackie Brewer, spokeswoman for Better Sports Now, an organization formed in December 2008 to improve the quality and focus of athletics in Washington County, said Tuesday during a telephone interview after the meeting that she was pleased the board decided to remove the proposal from the agenda.

She said the board's decision would allow school officials to open a dialogue with the public to ensure the language is rewritten so the most qualified and acceptable coaches are hired to mentor Washington County's youth.

When a coaching position opens, the school system is required to hire an employee of the system first. If a school system employee isn't interested, officials may fill the void by looking to the general public.

"Just because they want to coach doesn't mean they're qualified," Brewer said. "If they are a (system) employee, so be it. But if they're not, you just don't fill it with a body ... Let's make sure we are finding the most qualified coaches."

Earlier this month, Brewer suggested the school system collect résumés from people interested in coaching to find the best candidates.

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