– KERA may be in the way
The fallout from Coach Jason Stinson’s criminal trial acquittal in the tragic heat exhaustion death of football player Max Gilpin may serve to highlight the incredible, and widely misunderstood, lack of authority and control now impacting local school boards and district school superintendents in Kentucky.
A Courier-Journal editorial demands that Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman not allow Stinson to return to coaching duties, but it isn’t clear that Berman has that authority. KERA ripped much of the real authority in Kentucky schools away from district superintendents.
In Kentucky, KERA mandates that the school principal and the individual school’s site base council reign supreme.
In fact, if a superintendent fires a principal, the school’s site base council can turn around and hire that same person back in the same job. The superintendent basically can be told to go take a hike by an obstinate site base council. I’m told it’s actually happened.
I’m not sure that things are much different for coaching positions. I suspect that if Stinson’s principal wants the coach back, there is nothing Berman can do about it.
In fact, since the coach was acquitted, both Berman and the school’s principal would likely have a tough time trying to fire the coach, who probably has union protection.
Thus, one of the enduring outcomes of this tragic situation may be yet another example of how KERA disrupted lines of authority and accountability in Kentucky’s schools in a way that even the state’s largest newspaper can’t even understand, let alone overcome.