Severance pay for AD Moore, Dennhardt talks about fairness

Board member/parent Mike Dennhardt disallowed at athletic events after behavior at football game

Greene County Schools activity director Mitch Moore is out the door but with a bit of severance pay, and parent Mike Dennhardt, who was disallowed from athletic events for a year for inappropriate conduct at a football game, will be able to attend wrestling Senior Night. Those decisions were made at a special school board meeting Thursday morning.The board had accepted Moore’s resignation as head football coach at the regular December meeting. However, Moore had two other contracts with the district – one as athletic director and one as strength and conditioning coordinator.

Superintendent Tim Christensen had announced Dec. 28 Moore was being released from his non-coaching contracts. The board affirmed that action at the special meeting.
The AD contract allows the district to release him with 30 days’ notice or for proper cause. Christensen was explicit that the termination was not due to Moore’s job performance, but to allow the district “to move forward increasing participation, building unity and culture, focusing on sportsmanship and developing youth programs,” as stated in the Dec. 28 press release.

The contract as strength and conditioning coordinator allows termination at any time.
The board approved motions to terminate both contracts with 30 days’ pay for each. Board member Steve Karber made the motion on the strength and conditioning contract and included a commendation for Moore “for establishing a program we can move forward with.”

The meeting also brought into daylight a disciplinary action taken against Mike Dennhardt, a board member and the father of a senior athlete.

Another local media outlet had published a story in November about Dennhardt’s ongoing and boisterous criticism of Moore’s coaching, particularly at the first round playoff game against Benton Community Schools. Christensen said at that time there was no action that could be taken against Dennhardt as a board member.

However, Christensen followed Board Policy 903.4, Public Conduct on School Premises, and excluded Dennhardt from attending athletic activities for a full calendar year. The policy notes that “abusive, verbal or physical conduct of individuals” and “the use of vulgar, obscene or demeaning expression” directed at employees “will not be tolerated.”
Dennhardt asked the exclusion be waived so he can attend Senior Night Jan. 15 for his son Clint.

Dennhardt was at the special meeting and listened as Karber and board members Catherine Wilson, Steve Fisher and John McConnell weighed in. There was not clear consensus until board president Mark Peters said he would vote for the waiver under the condition that he attend the wrestling meet with the Dennhardt family.

Dennhardt was asked to comment on the situation. He said he agreed with Christensen’s action to exempt him from activities.

He went on to say the board and the school have a problem with not following one set of rules. “There’s always one person that covers something up and it’s not right. If we’re going to have a set of rules, let’s have them for everybody, including coaches, including kids. These coaches are teaching our kids. These coaches are with our kids more than we are, and the way they talked, the way that discipline was in our schools,  and you kicked me out of a year’s worth of games, there’s something wrong with that…. Just because we’re winning, that doesn’t make it right to talk the way our coaches talk. It doesn’t make it right for kids to talk the way our kids talk. And we all ought to think about that… It’s got to be fair for everybody straight across the board, and this school is not run like that.”

A motion that included Peters being with Dennhardt at the meet was approved unanimously, with Dennhardt abstaining from the vote. “We’ve got a date,” Peters said to Dennhardt after the vote.

Board member Sam Harding did not attend the meeting.

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