Tensions grow in Grundy County as school board members talk about new football coach

School board members argue over how they should pay a new high school football coach and how much. (Image WTVC)

It was a workshop meant to discuss two topics, but only one was on the agenda.

During last week's meeting, the board agreed to hold two special workshops; one Monday night to talk about an allegation of mishandled concession stand money and a second at the end of the month to talk about evaluating Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey. These conversations stem from an alleged hazing incident, where five football players are accused of holding down a freshman teammate inside of the school's field house, and assaulting him with a metal mop handle.

At Monday night's workshop began, Chairman Robert Foster read a note he prepared about why the board would not discuss the mishandled funds issue. The note reads:

"In a phone conversation I had with out attorney, Mr. Chuck Cagle, today, Mr. Cagle stated that the matter of the concession stand/gate receipts have been referred to the State Comptroller for audit.

His advice was not to discuss the matter or to conduct any investigation as a board. He stated that it could be viewed by the State of Tennessee as interfering with a state audit.

He also advised to be very careful as to any accusations toward anyone, until the audit is completed by the Comptroller's Office. Any questions that may arise from this audit will be addressed by the Comptroller."

Board member Chris Snyder was quick to argue that.

"That's not what I got out of it," he said. "I was told as long as we don't make accusations, we could talk about it as a public."

The conversation didn't last much longer than that, as Foster and Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey said they would not participate in the conversation.

Foster moved the conversation forward to discuss paying for a new high school football coach; something the board struggled to agree on. The chairman of the board said he has one goal for the process.

"Personally, I would like to have him in place by the time kids come back from Christmas break," Foster said.

Reuben Newsome spoke up a few times during this conversation.

"We’re gonna have to get someone who will step up and be a man about it and get all these little kids in the right position to come to high school and play," he said about the next head coach.

The only problem with that, is the board doesn’t have enough money in their budget to pay for a new coach to take over the rest of the year. Board members say a coach is needed from January to the next year because of spring training.

Foster says the board can vote to move money from the board’s rainy day fund account and use that toward hiring a new coach. Newsome says he has a problem with that.

"I’ll tell you right now, until we know who it is, I ain’t transferring anything, he told the board.

Director Jessie Kinsey says she doesn’t want to hire anyone until she knows how much the board is willing to pay them. She told the board according to TSSAA rules, the next coach doesn’t have to be a teacher at Grundy County High.

But because teacher’s get grants added to their salary if they coach a team, hiring a coach who doesn’t teach at the school would be much more expensive. That's because the coach would be an employee of the school board and would be given a salary for it.

Kinsey says as of Monday night, seven people have applied to be the next head coach. She told the board she did not want to drop any names of the applicants because she didn't want to give an unfair advantage to people who apply later, and didn't have their names mentioned in a meeting. She also added the job posting would stay up until the position is filled. She says that gives the board more options in case those seven applicants don't work out.

The board's next special workshop to discuss Kinsey's evaluation is set for Nov. 28. They will have their next regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 14.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off