PPISD staff issue causes friction
By Abigail Allen
One Pilot Point ISD parent turned out on April 25 for a special school board meeting with only one agenda item: an executive session discussion about an employment issue.
Parker Bailey spoke to the board and administrators present, saying he spoke for a group of parents afraid of "retaliation against their child or against themselves."
"I'm going to start by thanking each and every one of you for occupying these seats that you do," he said. "Because clearly, no one wanted them."
In his public comments, Bailey said the school had "23 open jobs posted," pointing to that as a sign that there's a major issue with the current administration and calling it "an unprecedented issue."
"Parents in Pilot Point ISD have reached a breaking point," Bailey said. "We ask this board to stand up for the students and employees in this district."
He also asked the board to look into an employment issue that he was concerned opened the district to possible liability in a civil suit.
The board, which went into executive at 6:06 p.m. and reconvened in public at 7:55 p.m., did not take any action.
Southard said the board had 17 postings listed on the Region 10, Region 11 and district websites as of April 25, and that some jobs are double posted and some of the jobs are for generalists at the elementary and middle school levels.
"We will continue to look for the best possible candidates we can for all our coaching positions throughout the district," he said.
Southard said he would not share additional information as the situation regards personnel issues.
Contract employees have the opportunity to move to a different district up to 45 days before the first day of instruction, Southard added.
The district has shifted to keeping certain job postings up, he said, to give flexibility in responding to a vacancy more quickly.
"The way it's set up now, if someone resigns, we can start immediately," Southard said.
The April 25 meeting sprung up within a week of a "We Want Marsh" campaign on social media.
Travis Marsh, who has coached at Pilot Point since June of 2019 and is a Pilot Point High School alumnus, said he will be coaching in a different district next school year.
"There was a personnel decision that was made, and I did disagree with it," Marsh said. "On a personal level and a professional level, I disagreed with it. I made my stance on it known to the powers that be."
His job was secure, he added, before the difference of opinion. He also said he appreciated the community support from the parents who said "We Want Marsh."
"I put my own job in question based off of my beliefs," Marsh said. "Going forward, I don't know that I would be comfortable working for the district without being retaliated against or under a microscope."