ST. PAUL - A provision Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, authored to provide coaches at Minnesota’s schools a layer of security in the case of parental complaints has been added to state statute.
The one-sentence measure – the first of its kind in the country – simply reads: “The existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board not to renew a coaching contract.” Urdahl’s provision was included in year's K-12 education finance bill (H.F. 630), which Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday.
Urdahl said his legislation is not the result of any cases in particular, rather it stems from a broad-based trend where parents have been more directly involved in coaches’ dismissals.
“The main purpose of this bill is to give coaches comfort in knowing their job won’t be on the line over every decision they make,” Urdahl said. “Parents are far more involved these days and, with that, we have seen a greater number of complaints. Those complaints will remain an important part of the process, but other factors should be considered when deciding whether a coach should be removed. We just needed to do a better job of insulating coaches from situations that can get out of control.”
Urdahl said parental involvement will remain crucial and his intent is to ensure personnel evaluations and decisions remain in the hands of school boards and administrations. The measure does not shield coaches in cases of illegal activity or broken school policies. Coaches also will remain at-will employees and not receive tenure benefits through this bill.