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SWCS Board Tables Coaching Appointment

John Lundmark, a Southwestern Central School varsity girls basketball parent, spoke at Tuesday's board of education meeting on behalf of a group aiming to support the re-appointment of coach Dave Turnbull, who Lundmark said had been told would not be re-appointed as the program's coach after four years. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

Members of the Southwestern Central School varsity girls basketball team and several parents attended Tuesday’s re-organizational board of education meeting in the high school’s multipurpose room to call attention to the appointment of the program’s coach.

The board was due to vote on extra-curricular appointments, notably the appointment of Taylor Storer as the varsity girls basketball coach. Storer, if appointed, would replace Dave Turnbull — who has served as the program’s coach for the last four years. According to John Lundmark, a parent, Turnbull was told that he would not be re-appointed.

“We’re here to support Coach Turnbull … and ask that some consideration be given to the appointment tonight and maybe table it until all the feedback is given and shared,” Lundmark said during public comments after distributing a letter to board members written by a group of players and parents.

“I’ve done some talking to a number of parents and there are three of the five returning seniors here tonight,” he said. “It’s overwhelming that a majority of the returning nine players and family would like to see Coach Turnbull return. I have no knowledge and have not seen any type of resignation of any sort. We have tried to reach out to get a better explanation. We haven’t gotten a clear picture.”

Lundmark said the group decided to voice support for Turnbull after finding out on June 23 that he would not be re-appointed after Storer began appearing at pickup games held between the players at Celoron Park.

“My biggest concern is how things have been communicated and told,” he said. “My daughter has been practicing in some pickup games down in Celoron periodically since the beginning of June. It was our understanding, from the way things were going, that Coach Turnbull was going to be returning.”

Once Storer began appearing at the pickup games, he said the player “kind of figured things out.”

“That wasn’t the best way, I don’t think, for the majority of the girls to find that out,” he said, but noted that they will support whoever the next head coach is.

“For me and everybody who, we will support what decision will be made, we basically just want to voice our support for Coach Turnbull for what he has done for our girls and our program and the opportunities that he offers them as a coach,” he said. “We just think it would be a shame that he doesn’t have an opportunity to coach these girls.”

After an executive session, the board chose to table all extra-curricular appointments to a meeting set to take place in two weeks, the date of which will be announced at a later time.

Maureen Donahue, district superintendent, also used Tuesday’s meeting with the board to share updates regarding the reopening of schools next fall, noting that discussions at various levels have started occurring and will continue to occur in the coming weeks.

“The Board of Regents has worked with the state committee and I have been on the Western New York group giving feedback,” she said, noting that the district has looked at several different plans for returning to school. “There were students, parents and educators that were asked to represent. We’ve had those meetings. They’ve been completed and the Board of Regents, we think, will be making recommendations together.”

She added, “Internally, we’ve been looking at what has gone well with remote in case we’re back with remote at some point. Hopefully, we’re never back to remote, but if we are we will look at what we can improve on and what we did well. We’ve been working on a couple of those things internally.”

Asked by one board member regarding a timeline as to when the district will receive guidelines, Donahue provided a rough estimate.

“I think the numbers in the next month will be critical,” she said. “I predict in the next week that we will be given a date to have a plan submitted. Our plan has to be submitted and approved and I anticipate by the end of July. I think they’ll make a decision on schools in August, but I think as quick as they will open us up, they can close us back down.”

At the beginning of the meeting, board members Richard Hartmann, Kurt Gustafson and Uma Vejendla were sworn in for new terms after being elected to the board in last month’s election. Jim Butler and Kurt Gustafson were also unanimously re-elected to serve as the board’s president and vice president, respectively.

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