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Gateway school board reverses direction, renews basketball coach's contract

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 6:36 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani | Daily News
Gateway boys basketball Mitch Adams watches from the bench during a game against McKeesport on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at McKeesport High School.

Gateway High School boys basketball coach Mitch Adams will return to his post next school year, amid accusations of inappropriate coaching tactics and a school board vote that may have violated the Sunshine Act.

The school board voted to renew Adam's contract Wednesday, one week after members of a Gateway family accused Adams of degrading players with vulgar language.

“It's disappointing and astounding actually that (coaches) aren't held to the same standards that we are as parents of the players,” said Gateway parent LaNa Crosby-Howard at the June 25 school board meeting. “I'd like that to be changed in the future.”

Crosby-Howard, who said her son quit the team last year, said she and other adult members of her family plan to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

After a June 18 board meeting, the contract renewal was removed from the June 25 agenda to investigate the matter. Then, the board unexpectedly put the item back on the agenda during the meeting Wednesday. District policy only allows for comment on agenda items at the start of the meeting, which meant parents couldn't comment until after the contract was approved.

The process could put the district at risk of being sued, said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel with the Pennsylvania News Media Association.

“This raises significant sunshine act compliance issues,” Melewsky said Thursday. “The sunshine act requires public comment before the agenda item is voted on.”

Solicitor Craig Alexander oversaw the motion to add the item back on to the agenda and after the vote advised board president Dave Magill to allow residents to comment.

School Director Skip Drumheller voted against the motion to add the contract renewal back on to the agenda, but would only said afterward that his vote “spoke for itself.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or klawson@tribweb.com.

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