SCC issues statement to correct story facts

Friday, July 13, 2007

Superintendent Dr. Joel B. Holland states in a letter that the district has not made a final decision on the AD or coaching positions.

The Scott County Central School District responded to the request for information from the Southeast Missourian regarding the July 2 school board meeting that included action on coaching positions at the school by issuing a statement correcting some reported information.

Superintendent Dr. Joel B. Holland wrote the Southeast Missourian on Wednesday that the board made "a decision to open the coaching extra duty assignments to the application process; there was no final decision to hire, fire, promote or discipline."

Among the positions opened by the school board were the athletic director's job, which had been held by David Heeb since he came over to the district from Bell City in 2005; and the boys basketball position, which in essence was occupied by Heeb as well.

Heeb, a Scott County Central graduate who coached five years at Bell City and led the Cubs to two Class 1 state titles in boys basketball, coached Scott County Central to a district championship in the 2005-06 season. He was suspended in April 2006 from coaching that sport by the Missouri State High School Activities Association for the second semester of the 2006-07 season for attempting to influence Bell City student-athletes to transfer to Scott County Central. He sat out the entire season and was replaced by Ronnie Cookson, who also led the Braves to a district championship.

Heeb has filed a lawsuit against MSHSAA and Bell City regarding the allegations and penalties.

Heeb remained in his role as AD at Scott County Central and coached the boys and girls track teams in the spring.

He represented the school district as AD in a May story in the Southeast Missourian that noted Scott County Central was seeking a girls basketball coach to replace Semona Penrod.

Heeb also coached Scott County Central's summer basketball team, although Holland's correspondence claims Heeb would have known at that point that he had not been renewed in the May meeting, when many school districts finalize their coaching contracts for the following year.

Holland wrote that the Southeast Missourian was incorrect in reporting on Heeb's claim that he had been renewed to his coaching extra duty positions earlier this spring.

"Mr. Heeb was expressly informed in the spring that only his employment contract for teaching was renewed," Holland wrote. "The Scott County Central Board of Education did not act on any contracts for extra duties, such as coaching, in the spring. Mr. Heeb was further notified at that time that contracting for extra duties would not take place until later in the year."

On July 2, the school board made a decision to list all of the coaching positions at the school for applicants. A posting on the Web site last week listed the AD job as well as the boys basketball, girls basketball, track, baseball and softball coaching positions.

Holland wrote that the action taken was not required under Missouri's Sunshine Law to be announced to the public within 72 hours after the meeting because it was not the type of personnel decision -- hiring, firing, promotion or discipline -- covered under the law.

He noted that the district satisfied the procedure of the Sunshine Law by maintaining minutes of the meeting and providing them to the Southeast Missourian within a day after the written request, which was made on Tuesday night.

The newspaper had been unable to get a comment or confirmation from a district official Monday or Tuesday regarding any action that was taken at the July 2 meeting. A district employee and one board member contacted earlier this week referred the matter to Holland, who is vacationing this week.

He has not been available by cell phone, nor has board president Mark Freed returned calls from the Southeast Missourian this week.

Heeb said Tuesday he had not been given a reason for the board's decision to open his jobs. He hoped to speak with Holland next week and also had interest in maintaining his coaching positions with the district.

Many reasons for Heeb's current status have been thrown around in Internet message boards, including one claim of new or further investigations into Scott County Central basketball. MSHSAA spokesman Rick Kindhart said Thursday that Heeb is "in good standing" with the association and that there is "no investigation involving him at this point."

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