The city’s Board of Education has voted down a controversial change to its conflict of interest policy that would have barred city school employees from coaching for school systems that Johnson City competes against.
As Press staff writer Nathan Baker reported in Tuesday’s paper, the School Board gave unanimous approval to a first reading of the prohibition last month. Things were much different Monday when both supporters and opponents showed up to the board meeting to have their say on the policy change.
Supporters argued the new policy would improve school spirit and prevent a conflict of interest between employees who teach at a Johnson City school and coach at a competing school outside the district. Dr. Richard Bales, the city’s superintendent of schools, said the policy was proposed after coaches with the school system voiced concerns that outside districts might be recruiting student athletes from Johnson City, which would be a direct violation of Tennessee Secondary School Athletics Association rules.
Opponents, however, argued the proposed policy would unfairly single out city teachers who also coach at a county school. Several teachers who spoke Monday said the change would force them to decide between their families (at least one said her own children attend the county school where she coaches) and their job with city schools.
You can sound off on this topic by telling us if you think Johnson City school employees should be prohibited from coaching at competing school systems. Does continuing to allow city employees to do so hurt the school system’s athletic programs? Does it truly matter when it comes to overall the quality of Johnson City schools?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on Opinion pages in the coming weeks.