In spite of controversy, the Dallas School Board voted to retain head cheerleading coach Suzanne Powell at its April 15 meeting.
The list of coaches included coaches for the controversial cheerleading program. Board members Maureen Matiska, Fred Parry and Karen Kyle voted against the measure. Board member Larry Schuler was absent from the meeting.
During visitor remarks, parent Michael Alves read a letter which had been sent to his wife by board solicitor Ben Jones III. Jones’ letter accused Alves’ wife, Lisa, of harassing school administrators and the letter warned that her behavior might make her liable to criminal prosecution.
Alves and his wife, along with other parents, have spoken out against Powell.
Alves disagreed with the letter and said his wife was not harassing or rude. He said, “I’m proud of my daughter and my wife.” He also said he did not appreciate the effort to intimidate her.
Lisa Alves also spoke. She said that posts on the cheerleading team’s Facebook posts had bothered her daughter. “My daughter has reason to be upset,” she said.
Another parent suggested that a code of ethics for coaches be adopted by the district.
Resident Thomas Dombroski objected to the letter sent to Ms. Alves. He said, “I’ve never seen a letter going out like that to people who are trying to take care of their children. It’s an insult.”
He told board members they should be more concerned with the failure of the Dallas Elementary School roof and suggested that the board should seek redress from the roofing contractor.
The board heard a presentation by Mason Hemphill, a representative of school bus company Brightbill Body Works, who told the board of the advantages of propane-powered school buses and answered board questions.
G. Davis, Inc., one of two companies vying for the district’s transportation contract, has promised to purchase propane-powered buses from Hemphill’s firm. Board members were able to view a propane-powered bus after the meeting.
In regular business, the board appointed fall coaches, including cheerleading coach Powell, Chris Scharf as head boys soccer coach, Ricky Bartolini as assistant boys soccer coach, Abe Lewis as head girls soccer coach and Kim Lanunziata as assistant cheerleading coach.
The board also learned about the uses of the iPad in science classrooms. Zack Palfrey, 12, David Smith, 11, and Brenden Jesse, 12, presented their projects about elements. Teacher Sam Barbose explained how the iPads had been obtained through grant money and how they had become an integral part of the science curriculum.
High school principal Jeff Shaffer honored four high school students of the quarter. Gregory Strazdus, Chris Colachito, Gates Pallissery and William Stoss were honored for their contribution to the high school.
In an interview after the meeting, Superintendent Frank Galicki addressed the cheerleading controversy. He revealed that the administration was looking into changes in the cheerleading program. Galicki said, “We are refocusing our attention on the cheerleading program to make it as highly competitive as possible.”