FFA advisers will keep their summer jobs

Kristina Carey and Courtney Dahl will continue with their summer FFA positions for now, the Churchill County School Board decided.

The school board ruled the two FFA instructors can keep their summer jobs pending a grievance the Churchill County Education Association filed on their behalf.

In a packed boardroom that spilled into the hallway and outside, school district attorney Sharla Hales said Wednesday that high school Principal Robbin Pedrett had the right to terminate the two summer contracts because the superintendent gave her that power.

Many, however, disagreed with that assessment.

Pedrett read from a series of e-mails she sent to Carey after the FFA instructor allegedly told her on April 15 she did not want to work the summer program because she wanted to spend time with her family in Montana.

CCEA President Margie Villanueva objected to the e-mails being read, and the board called a recess so Hales and Villanueva could discuss the issue.

After the recess, Pedrett said she tried to contact Carey several times by e-mail to see if her intentions remained the same.

She said the e-mails were read, but added her questions were never answered, and she never received a reply back from Carey.

She said that left her no choice but to terminate the contract to keep the summer FFA program intact.

She said she also sent e-mails to Dahl, and they also were not returned, though he never told her he did not want the summer position.

"My back was against the wall. I had to protect the district's interests," she said, adding no one came to talk to her.

"That is why I made (this) decision," she said.

What muddled the issue were the grievances that have been filed, as the school board did not want to discuss this issue.

Dahl told the board their summer jobs had been advertised since early April, despite the fact neither adviser gave Pedrett the impression they did not want to teach the summer program.

Hales provided documentation that made it clear the principal is allowed to terminate contracts after a two-week notice is given.

Parent Caroline Greene wanted to know who was going to be in charge of the FFA program next week.

Carey said the termination letter prevents them from fulfilling the contract, adding it is hurting the children involved because of the numerous things the FFA is involved in the summer.

She also wanted to know if the principal had the right to break contracts, and was informed by Hales, when acting as a designee of Superintendent Carolyn Ross, that she did.

CCEA Vice President April Chester said she spoke with Ross who told her she had no idea the contracts were being terminated, and Chester wondered how Pedrett could be acting as a designee if the superintendent did not know the principal's intentions.

Hales replied Pedrett is probably given a broad scope of what she is allowed to do as the designee.

Board member Lou Buckmaster reminded the board of what former school attorney advisor Tom Stockard once told them.

"We are the boss," he said, referring the decision was theirs to make.

As the school board grappled with the motion to allow the FFA advisors to keep their summer jobs until the grievance is settled, Chester tried to offer some advice.

"Don't tell us how to do it," snapped Board President Greg Koenig.


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