School board faces coaching resignations, overflow crowd

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

An overflow audience was on hand again when the Pawhuska Board of Education met Monday evening for its regular monthly meeting, which included action on resignations from four Pawhuska High School head coaches and the continuation of controversy about the length of class days in the district.

After a 2 1/2-hour executive session was held to discuss the various personnel matters, school board members voted to accept the coaching resignations. The board also voted to support a 3 percent pay raise for support personnel and a $2-per-hour wage increase for custodial staff and bus drivers. The actions were approved by unanimous vote — 4-0, as one member (Christi McNeil) was absent — and both pay issues will go into effect for the next pay period.

Parents and faculty members attending the meeting expressed concerns about the recent loss of teaching and administrative personnel from the district.

Athletic department resignations included head football coach/athletic director Bob Craig, who said Tuesday that he would be leaving Pawhuska reluctantly, due to personal reasons.

“It’s a family deal,” said Craig, who took over as the Huskies’ head coach two years ago.

The PHS coach said his mother passed away in February and he wants to move closer to Muskogee, where his father resides.

“I have received a lot of support from the school district in the past few months while I’ve been going back and forth — and, for that, I am very grateful,” the veteran coach said. “I want to be closer to him and cut down on the 90 minutes of drive time.”

Also resigning were both of the PHS head basketball coaches — longtime boys’ coach Monty Unruh and girls’ coach Austin Minshall, who is completing his fourth year at the school. A resignation also was accepted from former head wrestling coach Wade Rogers, who was in his fourth PHS season when he was replaced in January. Last month, Pawhuska High’s head softball coach had also resigned (effective at the end of the school year) due to her moving out of town.

A special board meeting was scheduled for April 21 to vote on a proposal for increasing the length of the district’s school day from 370 minutes to 395 minutes for the 2015-2016 school year.