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Wokasch could appeal board decision
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:13

Mingus Union High School’s former wrestling coach could be out of a job by Tuesday, July 13, if he fails to appeal the Mingus Union High School District Governing Board’s decision to approve charges leveled against him by school administrators.

Patrice Horstman, legal counsel for the Mingus Union High School District governing boar, explains the options available to the board members  at the school board meeting Monday, June 14, regarding the decision of whether or not to accept the district administration's recommendation in the matter of physical education teacher and state champion winning wrestling coach Tom Wokasch, who is alleged to have mismanaged funds.The board voted 4-1 Monday, June 14, to accept the charges against five-time state champion wrestling coach Tom Wokasch, who is alleged to have misappropriated at least $33,000 in gate and concession receipts during the last three years. Wokasch resigned as coach earlier this year, but continues under contract with the district as a physical education teacher.

Board members John Tavasci, Jim Ledbetter, Andy Grosetta and Brenda Zenan voted to accept the charges. Board member Mike Mulcaire voted against.

“Based on the information I was presented, I’m not sure if it’s justified,” Mulcaire said after the vote.

The vote came after MUHSD lawyer Patrice Horstman told the board Wokasch did not respond to the district’s offer of settlement.

Wokasch may challenge the allegations at a due process hearing should he file notice of appeal within 30 days. Should Wokasch appeal, the board will appoint an independent hearing officer to make findings of fact and recommendations.

Mingus Union High School District board member Mike Mulcaire, left, listens as fellow board member John Tavasci Jr. makes a motion to accept Superintendent Tim Foist's recommendation  at a school board meeting Monday, June 14, regarding physical education teacher Tom Wokasch's employment with the district because of alleged mismanagement of wrestling team funds.William Holder, Wokasch’s attorney, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The board also voted unanimously to not place Wokasch on administrative leave.

“If you elected not to place him on administrative leave, he would not be acting in an official capacity as a teacher because the school is closed,” Horstman said before the vote.

Wokasch allegedly failed to follow proper procedures required to account for gate and concession receipts and reportedly deposited the money into his family’s personal checking accounts.

In an e-mail circulated to his supporters Wednesday, June 9, Wokasch wrote, “I didn’t take any money. I am not paying back this money because it was used for the wrestlers.”

“This money was used on your child,” Wokasch wrote.

In stark contrast to the crowded condition at the Mingus Union High School District board meeting May 13, the meeting to decide whether to pursue termination of MUHS physical education teacher Tom Wokasch on Monday, June 14, carries on without the attendance of the popular wrestling coach’s many supporters. The board voted 4-1 to continue the termination process which Wokasch now has the opportunity to appeal.Wokasch was allegedly unable to provide documentation showing how all of the money was spent.

The charges against Wokasch state: “Your conduct constitutes a misappropriation of funds and serious neglect of duty.”

Wokasch was notified of the proper procedures on at least four separate occasions between August 2006 and May 2009, administrators allege.

It will now be up to Wokasch to decide what steps should be taken in the future.

 

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