Dr. Henry Hunt confirmed that Charles Hamlett will return for the 2010-2011 school year. But some parents and students are happy with the job current director Patrick Mainieri is doing and want him to stay in the position.
Several spoke out at Monday night’s school board meeting, telling the board what a good job Mainieri has done since he took charge of the band.
Will Hillegeist, who graduated from EHS in 2009, said the band program had grown under Manary’s direction, and he asked that the board keep the students’ best interest in mind by keeping him on as band director.
“Don’t ignore the strides made in the past two years,” he said.
Hillegeist’s mother Pam Hillegeist also spoke on Mainieri’s behalf.
“I’m not here to badmouth anybody on staff, but the students need stability,” she said.
Student Abbey Thompson spoke of Mainieri’s character and his dedication to his students and the band program.
“You say you want to do what’s best for the students, but I find that hard to believe if you’re willing to disrupt or throw away what Patrick Mainieri has built over the past few years,” she said.
But board chairman Jim Shelton pointed out that in bringing Hamlett back to the position, the school district is following laws regarding military service of state employees.
Shelton said the board had to make a tough decision and that Mainieri’s efforts were not ignored.
Board member Alex Saitta, who represents the Pickens area, also said the board did not ignore the parents’ and students’ concerns when making the decision to bring Hamlet back as director next year.
But he said that according to federal law, when an employee goes away to serve in the military, they must be re-employed in “the escalator position or a position of like seniority, status and pay.”
Saitta said bringing Hamlett back as director of another school in the district would have been considered a drop in status, so the board had no choice.
“The law was pretty clear to us,” he said. “We’re very sympathetic to all you had to say, and there was a lot of relevance to what you had to say, but according to the law, it is irrelevant.”