Webster County School Board member James Nance voiced his opinion concerning the recent firing of long time WCHS assistant football coach Ronnie Pride, calling the decision “unkind.”

Pride attended a board of education meeting in December to question the way that salaries were handled for assistant coaches with the football program, specifically a $1,250 shortfall in his check for the 2019 season.

“I’ve been a football coach with Webster County for over 20 years, either coaching or filming” he told board members in December. “I love these kids. But I’ve had a discrepancy on my pay scale, which is why I am here.”

Pride presented the board with a letter from former superintendent Dr. James Kemp that reported his salary at the time, and told members that he had not received any notice of a change to his salary at any time since.

“I’ve never received anything else about either my position or salary,” he said. “I’ve never sat in a meeting where everyone was told their salary. That is just not good ethics.”

Board members instructed superintendent Rhonda Callaway to investigate the matter. Nance asked at that time that the board be involved in the discussion, but was told by other members that personnel issues were handled by the superintendent.

While it is true that the superintendent handles personnel, all district salaries and positions must be approved by the board of education.

According to Nance, the morning following that December meeting, Pride received a phone call to come clean out his locker at the WCHS field house.

“He has been a loyal coach for many years,” Nance told the board on Monday. “I feel bad that this man who gave twenty years of his life to these kids was treated so unkind.”

Neither Callaway nor any of the members of the board of education commented on the issue.

In other business, DPP Greg Bowls informed the board that the new safe/secure entrance to WCHS was a week and a half from completion. Although guests at the school’s homecoming game on Monday were allowed to use the entrance, it will not be made available for students to use quite yet.

He explained that only minor issues such as baseboards and lighting remained to be completed.

Board chairman Mickey Dunbar cautioned board members that the construction had resulted in a swap in locations of the boys’ and girls’ restrooms near the basketball concession stand, which had been in the same location for decades.

At its next meeting, scheduled for February 24, the board is expected to address SBDM allocations for the 2020-21 school year.


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