Drama coach reinstated after unintentional cut

Milaca School Board Member Todd Quaintance removed the item asking for approval to hire an assistant drama coach from the consent agenda at Monday night’s board meeting, after which a discussion ensued.

“Why are we rushing to do this now instead of waiting until we make the other adds?” Quaintance questioned.

He expressed concerns about the board’s upcoming decisions to make additional hires that will be presented to the group at December’s meeting.

“We should have done it the last time we met,” countered Board Member Jody Chambers.

Chambers argued that drama director Audrey French had requested the assistant position be reinstated prior to the fall play starting, and the board delayed making that decision, leaving her without help for that activity.

“I understand wanting to see things one at a time when they come to us,” Board Chair Jeff Larson said. “I’m not opposed to adding the position. I think it’s a good idea. However, I think we should stick to the process.”

That process involves bringing the proposal to the board and waiting for them to review all requests at the same time.

“This position is unique in a few different ways,” Chambers argued. “It was an unintentional cut when it happened.”

When the board made the decision to cut the junior high drama coach, it inadvertently also cut the high school assistant drama coach as the position was held by the same person.

“It seems like a fix that’s been long, long overdue,” Chambers said. “And I don’t know how many times we’ve sat here and added a coach for this and a coach for that because of numbers or safety without all these added requirements.”

Chambers was referring to recent decisions such as the one in August to hire an additional junior high football coach because so many students had signed up for the sport. That decision was made after a verbal request by Activities Director Jerry Westphal; after less than five minutes of discussion, the board approved the hire.

“I’d like to hear what the activities director has to say,” Chambers said.

Westphal said comparing the drama coach position to adding another coach because of numbers wasn’t exactly apples to apples, but he believed the position was necessary.

“The reason why we’d like this in place now is because the one act play is coming up and they’d like an assistant for that,” Westphal said. “When I spoke to Audrey about it, she seemed to think it’s pretty important.”

Quaintance then commented that the way the motion was worded, it seemed to conflict with the way the position is described in the district’s schedule.

“I just want you to put back what you took away,” Chambers said.

The motion was revised to reflect the original position and passed with Larson casting the only dissenting vote.

The position’s duties will include junior high one act play director, assistant high school fall play coach and assistant high school one act play coach.

After the meeting, director French said she was very pleased with the outcome.

“I’ve waited a long time for this,” she said.