PIQUA — Steve Frazier, longtime coach within Piqua City Schools athletics, was present during the PCS Board of Education meeting on Wednesday evening to announce that he will not be returning to PCS athletics in any capacity next year.
Frazier, who served during the recent spring season as head coach of girls track, shared the reasoning behind his decision during the public participation segment of the board meeting.
“I’ve coached various teams in Piqua City Schools since 1979,” Frazier said. “After all these years, I was asked not to come back as head coach due to a couple of incidents.”
Frazier described “incident number one” as involving a disgruntled parent.
“(The parent) was not pleased with the way I was coaching his son,” Frazier said. “It was quite obvious at the meeting with the athletics department, and member of the administration, that they agreed with the parent.
“During the meeting, I felt no support from the athletics department, nor the administration,” he continued. “I felt like I did not have a chance to defend myself or debate my circumstances.”
Fraizer said “incident number two” involved an error he had made when he missed the deadline for entering an eligible athlete into a league meet.
“As soon as I found that I made the error, I immediately admitted my mistake to the athletics department, the athlete, and the athlete’s parents,” Frazier said. “Following a meeting, the athletics department told me that I was suspended indefinitely without compensation. (I was told) this was supported by the administration. I was reinstated two days later.”
Following the conclusion of the spring sports season, Frazier was asked to return the following season as the distance coach for the girls track team, rather than head coach. Frazier said he felt this indicated a lack of trust in him on behalf of the athletics department and the administration.
“I will not be returning to Piqua as a coach,” Frazier said. “If you do not have enough trust in me to do my job, why would I be offered a job at all? After endless time and energy I’ve poured into teaching kids how to not only become better athletes but better people, I care about them on and off the field (and) hurts to be relieved from this job that way.”
According to Superintendent Dwayne Thompson, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, offering Frazier the job of distance running coach was not a form of punishment.
“What happens with all of our coaches is they are all non-renewed each year,” said Thompson. “(The coaches) are all given feedback in terms of what will happen the next year. (Frazier) was offered a position as the long distance running coach.”
Thompson noted that he believes Frazier has been a “great coach” throughout the years, and that he works well with the student athletes.
“We didn’t fire him,” Thompson said. “We are all about putting the best people in front of our kids. We support our coaches and make sure they have everything they need to be that person we need them to be for our kids.”
Frazier ended his presentation to the board with a plea for this to conduct an investigation.
“I would ask that the board take time to look into why Piqua is having such a hard time keeping coaches,” he said. “Please consider having a board member or someone outside as part of the investigation.”
In response to the claim that PCS is unable to keep coaches around, Thompson disagreed. He stated that the majority of those who do leave their position, do so for personal reasons, rather than issues within the job.
Thompson shared an overview of the school’s coaching statistics, which includes how many years each coach has been in the position, as well as reasons behind any resignations.
Within these stats, the majority of coaches are listed as having been in their respective positions for at least three years, and up to 37, with reasons for resignations including leaving “to complete college coursework,” “replacing a coach that became junior high AD,” and “replacing a coach that became a principal at PCIS.”
In other business, the board approved the hiring, and resignations, of several employees.
The approved resignations are as follows:
• Josh Kauffman, principal at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Jon Shoffstall, assistant principal at Piqua High School
• Heath Butler, assistant principal at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Lindsay Muhlenkamp, guidance counselor at Piqua High School
• Abbey Hewitt, eighth grade ELA teacher at Piqua Junior High School
• Carl Phlipot, music/instrumental teacher at Piqua Central Intermediate and Piqua High School
• Laura Wolters, seventh grade ELA teacher at Piqua Junior High School
• Nick Neary, English teacher at Piqua High School
• Amber Buschur, third grade teacher at Washington Primary School
• Megan Askins, biology teacher at Piqua High School
They approved hirings are as follows:
• Heath Butler as principal at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Lindsay Muhlenkamp as assistance principal at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Leslie Mosley as biology teacher at Piqua High School
• Megan Askins as dean of students at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Elizabeth Caryl as guidance counselor at Piqua High School
• Katelyn Brumit as English teacher at Piqua Junior High School
• Devon Williams as English teacher at Piqua Junior High School
• Amanda Weikert as science teacher at Piqua Central Intermediate School
• Danielle Dillion as third grade teacher at Washington Primary School
• Wyatt Heinz as assistant band director at Piqua High School
• Laura Boze as second grade teacher at Springcreek Primary School
• Tabitha Brady as English teacher at Piqua High School
• Megan Williams as behavior specialist at Springcreek Primary School
• Franklin Evans as A-4 special assignment aide at Springcreek Primary School
• Shane Minnich as A-4 special assignment aide at Washington Primary School
• Darrell Hite as second shift coordinator at Piqua High School
• Kris Mitchem as home instructor
• Sarah Ammon as transportation summer worker, as-needed
• Mandi Calloway as transportation worker, as-needed
The board also approved the internal transfer of Jennifer Everett to the position of third grade teacher at Springcreek Primary School, along with classified substitues, game workers, and volunteers for the 2019-2020 school year. Band camp workers were approved for summer 2019.
The board approved an agreement with M&M Automotive for vehicle maintenance. The duration of the agreement is from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, with a contract price of $70 per hour.
Also approved was a change order with Arcon Builders, regarding the HVAC improvements/interior alterations within Piqua High School’s 500 Wing, to add alterations for transportation center offices.
Assistant Superintendent Tony Lyons updated the board on the data on bullying in the district.
Lyons said 82 reports were filed during the previous school year, all of which were resolved.
According to Lyons, five cases were deemed bullying through the school’s determination process at PCIS; zero were determined to be bullying at the junior high; and one was determined to be bullying at the high school.
Board member Frank Patrizio addressed the topic of the budget, stating a State Budget Conference Committee Hearing meeting was scheduled for Thursday, after which he expects to have finalized information, pending the governor signing a budget into law. In order for the board to determine the school’s budget for next year, this state funding information needs to be finalized.
Board member Andy Hite shared that SkillsUSA students are currently at a national conference in Nashville, Tenn.
The board also approved several housekeeping items, including student handbooks, donations, grants, and updates/revisions to NEOLA board policy.
The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, at 6 p.m., at the Board of Education offices, 215 Looney Road.