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Union to Sue Over Hiring of Coach

March 28, 2000|ANNA GORMAN

The Conejo Valley chapter of the teachers union announced that it plans to sue the Conejo Valley Unified School District for hiring a non-credentialed basketball coach at Westlake High School.

The Unified Assn. of Conejo Teachers said the district violated the California Education Code by hiring Rich Sanders, who does not have a credential, rather than Gary Grayson, who coached the team for 10 years and is credentialed.

In January, Grayson was suspended for the rest of the season. Though officials declined comment on the reasons for suspension, some believe it was because a student missed the team's return flight from a tournament in Hawaii.

Sanders, who had been serving as interim coach since Grayson's suspension, was hired on a permanent basis last week.

Mike Hozman, president of the association, said he tried to persuade the district to keep Grayson as the coach, but was unsuccessful.

The association plans to file the suit at the beginning of April.

"The issue is not the personalities of the coaches," Hozman said. "The issue is that every student has the right to a fully trained and credentialed teacher."

Jody Dunlap, assistant superintendent of the district, said that before hiring an employee, the district looks at several factors, including experience, education and credentials.

"We consider all of the qualifications," Dunlap said.

Dunlap declined to comment on the suit, as she had not received any paperwork from the union.

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