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Ex-AD says he is not guilty

School officials looking for missing $1,000

PETERBOROUGH — ConVal School District administrators are trying to track down about $1,000 missing from student activities funds that had been under the supervision of Athletic Director Jon Hall, who resigned unexpectedly on Sept. 30.

School Supt. Brendan Minnihan said Wednesday that it’s unclear what happened to the money.

“Basically, there is money that is either missing or misplaced,” Minnihan said. “We don’t know at this point. We’re not 100 percent sure of the amount. It’s around $1,000.”

Minnihan said the money is from athletic and student funds for a variety of cocurricular activities. ConVal’s athletic director is the person responsible for oversight of the funds, Minnihan said.

The Athletic Department’s administrative assistant, Mel Keeler, also resigned last week.

Minnihan said he could not comment on Hall’s and Keeler’s decisions to resign.

When reached by phone late on Monday, Hall told the Ledger-Transcript, “I’m not guilty of anything. Some things happened on my watch, and I was held responsible.”

The Ledger-Transcript has been unable to contact Keeler for comment.

Hall also resigned as ConVal’s boys soccer coach. Scott Daniels, the team’s assistant coach, was appointed interim head coach for the remainder of the soccer season.

In a statement to the Ledger-Transcript earlier this week, Minnihan said the district will ensure that “all student activity funds are made whole.” On Wednesday, Minnihan said it is unclear how that will happen.

“We don’t know at this point,” he said. “We will have to finish the investigation. We are still talking to people to see if the money is misplaced.”

Minnihan said the activities handbook that spells out procedures for handling money is being reviewed with teachers and other advisors who work with various school teams and clubs.

“We’ve done that twice since the incident occurred,” he said. “We’re seeing what else might be put in place.”

Meanwhile, high school officials are actively recruiting candidates to fill the jobs left vacant by the resignations of Hall and Keeler. There are no plans to change the job descriptions for either position, according to Minnihan.

“We have posted the positions the way they are written now,” Minnihan told members of the School Board’s Budget and Property Committee on Tuesday. “We are planning to make recommendations to the School Board. If that’s not the way you want to go, it’s better to know now.”

Budget and Property Committee member Fiona Tibbetts, Dublin’s representative on the School Board, said the administration should consider not filling the administrative assistant job. She noted that many schools similar in size to ConVal do not have an administrative assistant in their athletic departments, according to a list comparing duties and staffing levels that had been prepared by ConVal Principal Brian Pickering.

“I’d like to show that we’re addressing administrative costs,” Tibbetts said. “Maybe we should look at whether we can absorb that job.”

Pickering disagreed, saying he would not recommend eliminating either the athletic director or the administrative assistant job. Pickering, who had once been a full-time athletic director in the Fall Mountain School District, said the athletic director “is arguably the most public position we have.”

“There’s no position where I ever put more time in,” Pickering said. “Every single day, that person is subject to criticism. It is exhausting. At the end of my eight years, I was fried.”

Pickering said he was quite willing to make recommendations on staffing reductions at the School Board’s request, but he objected to being told that a specific job should be cut.

School Board Chair Butch Estey, who is a member of the Budget and Property Committee, said the committee or the full School Board should not demand that the administrative assistant job be eliminated.

“Over the years, we’ve never micromanaged the schools,” Estey said. “You have to rely on the experts. Leave it up to them to make the decisions.”

The committee did not make any formal recommendation.

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