Monday night school board meeting

The resignation of Madras High School head football coach Rich Wells was accepted at the Monday night meeting of the School District 509-J Board of Directors.

Darryl Smith, director of human resources for the district, declined to comment on the reason for Wells’ sudden resignation, saying, “I really can’t speak for Rick,” and suggesting Wells be contacted for comments.

“This was 100 percent my choice,” said Wells on Tuesday. “It was the right time for me to professionally step aside. I have no plans to leave the district, and hope the new coach will use me in some capacity to coach.”

Smith said that Wells’ teaching position would not be affected by his coaching resignation. He is a Title VII instructor, and provides alternative education classes, and has taught tribal history and government classes.

To fill the head football coaching position, Smith said athletic director Rory Oster will be posting some coaching positions. “He has been in contact with coaches around the state. We will involve a couple of community members and a couple of board members (in the selection process),” Smith said.

In other business, Chief Financial Officer Martha Bewley gave a follow-up report on suggestions from the recent audit, which for the past several years has recommended the district office have further separation of staff duties.

“It reduces errors. One person shouldn’t initiate and approve something,” Bewley said.

Employees in the business office have taken on multiple duties to save money. Bewley said there are now five employees in the business office, with 3.7 of them doing business duties. The others do food service and student information (such as enrollment), and assist with payroll.

“A recent example is the Oregon Department of Education’s overpayment to 509-J. There was not a second reviewer in that process,” Bewley said, of a coding error which resulted in the district having to pay back the funds.

Superintendent Rick Molitor said he felt an extra accounting position was needed, the position was advertised and people have applied. Money to fund the extra person are within the current budget, he added.

“The business department is currently lacking the resources for ensuring the separation of duties,” Bewley said, adding, “We’ve had this recommendation for years, and there will come a time when the auditors will ask why we’ve not dealt with the issue.”

During student reports, student representative Ian Oppenlander said most of the MHS seniors were in favor of holding graduation in the Jefferson County Middle School track area.

Molitor said, “I think it’s a great idea and we will work to make sure it’s a good event. It was mentioned that stadium bleachers could be rented, and the usual 500 folding chairs brought to the area.

Under personnel, Tyler Larrea and Allen Hair were approved as part-time assistant coaches for MHS baseball.

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