Audit reveals PRJUSD did not follow policy
PASO ROBLES — Two Paso Robles High School varsity coaches — football and swimming — were relieved of their duties because the district found it did not follow policy.
Paso Robles head football coach J.R. Reynolds spoke Wednesday with The Paso Robles Press about the matter. Swimming coach Michael Sauret was also let go.
“I wasn’t offered a new contract,” Reynolds, who works as an intervention specialist at the high school. He said the decision was made Monday and confirmed last night at the school board meeting, Dec. 10, which coincidentally fell on the same night of the Bearcats football banquet.
“Basically, I’m a victim of circumstance,” Reynolds said. “I am kind of caught in the crossfire of the district trying to fix issues, I guess.”
PRJUSD officials issued a press release Wednesday afternoon, stating the moves were made after an audit found that district policy for hiring coaches was not followed.
“As part of our Human Resource audit, the district analyzed the hiring practices of coaching positions over the past four years,” district officials stated. “This audit addressed the district’s procedures related to Education Code 44919 (b) and Board Policy 4127. Both of these governing documents relate to the hiring procedures of athletic stipended positions and the process in which qualified teachers employed by the district must have a preference in the hiring process. It was discovered in this audit that the hiring of two athletic coaching positions did not follow the district policy, and therefore will now be advertised in accordance with our district procedures. These positions include the Head Football Coach and Head Swimming Coach.”
The District made it clear this had nothing to do with wins or losses.
“This decision is no way a reflection of the coaching performance or either coach,” PRJUSD officials stated. “We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of both coaches and their focus on our student-athletes. We are very sorry for the disruption this may cause our athletic programs and the individuals affected by this audit finding.”
PRJUSD also addressed filling the openings.
“The positions will be advertised internally to our current teaching staff immediately,” the District stated. “We encourage all qualified teachers to apply. If there are no qualified teacher candidates, we will open the position to external applicants.”
Reynolds took over as interim head coach after week one of the 2017 season, following a mutual-parting with Larry Grant. He was officially hired on Dec. 13, 2017, after leading the Bearcats to an undefeated league title. Through three seasons, Reynolds was 11-18 overall.
Reynolds recalled being interviewed to be head coach at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
“I applied and had to go through an interview process when I got this job,” Reynolds said. “I was the interim but there were three other people that I interviewed against for the football job and the panel of 15 people selected me. ”
PRJUSD has notified Reynolds that he will not be able to apply when the position is flown within the district because he is not a teacher, which makes it unlikely he would be able to submit an application for the position again.
“I am saddened that I am not going to be able to finish what I started,” Reynolds said. “And that I am not going to be able to work with those kids anymore in that capacity.”
The Paso Robles Press also reached out to former swim coach Sauret, who was hired in 2017 and has coached the swim team for the last two seasons, and is awaiting a response.