Durango School District 9-R has approved the creation of an independent review panel to make sure district policy addresses potential conflicts of interest by coaches.
The panel will be led and chosen by Joel Jones, a retired president of Fort Lewis College and former interim 9-R superintendent.
The panel will complete its findings by May 1.
Changes will be incorporated by 9-R staff into the policies and procedures for the 2009-10 school year, the district announced Friday.
The move comes in reaction to concerns raised about private summer soccer camps run by Durango High School coach Scott Emrich.
A parent, Jack Turner, recently cited numerous issues, including whether Emrich used his position to make money through private summer camps while parents felt obligated to pay substantial fees to curry favor with the coach.
Turner told the school board last month there was a "de facto pay-to-play system."
In an e-mail to the school board Saturday, Turner said he was not satisfied with the district's response.
He said the panel would be "window dressing" that reviews only the district's recommendations.
"The issues raised are not simply about communications or 'potential' for conflict of interest. They happened and they are serious," he said.
District 9-R said it would make several changes to its policies. Many of the changes were suggested by DHS Principal Diane Lashinsky, who conducted the District 9-R investigation after listening to Turner's complaints.
They include:•Policies regarding insurance, funding and the use of fields and facilities will be clarified.
•9-R will seek to ensure that camps conform to district policy.
•Camps offered through the school district will clearly state that they are being sponsored by the district.
•Parents will be given written information on district-sponsored camps, including how fees are paid, how money is collected and processed and how insurance is covered.
•9-R will establish a set compensation rate for coaches at district-sponsored camps.
•Private camps will be responsible for their own promotion and materials.
•Sections in the 9-R coach's handbook that address ethics will be reviewed for clarity and to ensure they address conflicts of interest and outline the proper use of district fields and facilities.
Lashinsky will present those and possibly other recommendations at an April 13 meeting with the superintendent's advisers.
Jones' panel will then review all of the district's recommendations.
Jones said Monday he had invited community members to participate on the panel, but he did not want to announce their names until they agree to serve. "I will try to find a couple of individuals who have some experience and expertise both in athletics, ethics and the legal dimensions thereof," he said.
Jones also serves on the boards of First National Bank of Durango and Leadership La Plata.
He was interim 9-R superintendent before Mary Barter was hired in 1999.
The 9-R board will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in the 9-R administration building, 201 E. 12th St.