MANHATTAN, Mont. - A head football coaching position is now up for grabs at Manhattan High School. Monday night board members unanimously voted to open the job.
It is a story we have followed since September. That is when Manhattan Public Schools placed Dale McQueary on administrative leave. McQueary was suspended following an investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement of district fundraising activities.
The final report alleged the coach failed to deposit more than $8,300 in a school fundraising account back in 2011. The documents state McQueary returned most of it, but around $250 was unaccounted for at the time of the report.
The most recent board meeting in Manhattan was held Monday night. We spoke to Ethan Severson, a parent who attended that meeting. He tells us it was standing room only, and that it was an emotional meeting with many parents vouching for McQueary as a coach.
"He is very dedicated to building a program there and he has done a good job with it, gone above and beyond for sure," said Severson.
Severson said public comment lasted almost two hours for this one agenda item.
"A lot of former players, a lot of parents of former players, and co-workers, teachers," said Severson.
He explains all of those people were there in support of McQueary, hoping to see him on the sidelines this fall.
"Extremely passionate, and I think he is very successful, very fair to who plays and who doesn't, my hope is that by doing it that way they are still in negotiations with him to try to retain him, or to hire him again," said Severson.
However, the board's decision Monday night reflected a different idea, making the job available to others. We met with Superintendent Jim Notaro Monday afternoon. He confirmed the decision made by the board, but would not comment on the matter any further.
For parents like Severson, he just wants the issue to be resolved so the football program can move forward.
"If the board feels it is a big enough infraction they don't want to retain him, I hope they have a plan to put in place quickly cause otherwise you are leaving the students hanging on that," said Severson.
We also know that McQueary and his wife filed a lawsuit against the superintendent after the investigation into how the funds were handled.
We looked into exactly how much a head football coach is paid per year in the Manhattan School District. For the 2013-2014 school year the football coaches salary was $3,640. That is approximately 13 percent of the base teaching salary in the district.