ANACONDA — The Anaconda school board voted to not renew the teaching contract of Anaconda High basketball and track coach Jason Buell Wednesday night.
The five-member board voted 4-1 to not renew Buell’s teaching contract during the meeting. About 100 citizens showed up for the meeting and more than a dozen spoke during public comment in support of the teacher. None spoke in support of not renewing his contract.
Buell’s contract ends following the completion of the spring semester of school.
Buell was initially hired in 2010 as a physical education teacher as he accepted the head coaching job for the boys’ basketball team. In 2011, he was hired as the head track coach before the spring season. Later that year, he joined the Copperhead football coaching staff as an assistant.
Before the school board vote, Buell’s contract was reccomended to not be renewed as a non-tenured teacher by school administrators. Due to privacy reasons, it was not officially known why Buell’s contract was recommended to not be renewed.
One other teacher’s contract was not
During the public comment, which was the only one any citizens spoke for in the first half of the meeting, a number of different people spoke in support of keeping Buell as a teacher.
More than 10 current and former students took the stand in support of Buell, as well as two assistant football coaches, two parents of students that he didn’t coach, a fellow teacher and a player on a fifth-grade basketball team that he helped coach.
Buell did confirm late Wednesday that he will continue to serve as head coach for the Anaconda High track team during the spring season.
Before coming to Anaconda, Buell served as a basketball coach for Rigby High School in eastern Idaho, where he started as an assistant and was promoted to head coach.
After that, he worked as a recreation coordinator in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2005 from Idaho State.
During his college days he played basketball at Montana Tech and then the University of Montana Western in Dillon.
Buell was reached by The Standard Wednesday night,but declined to comment.