COLLINSVILLE — The Collinsville Unit 10 School Board met in executive session late Monday night, but did not determine the fate of Collinsville High Athletic Director Chris Kusnerick.
Kusnerick in late February was informed by Superintendent Dr. Robert Green that he would be reassigned to a non-administrative position as a social studies teacher at the high school in 2013-14.
The board has not disclosed reasons for Kusnerick's job change. Green previously explained that he could not discuss the matter since it was a personnel issue. It is believed part of the decision is financially driven.
Since late February when the board told Kusnerick, 47, of its decision, it has moved to make the athletic director's position a part-time role.
Kusnerick has secured attorney Brian Schwartz of the Illinois Teacher's Association in Springfield to represent him as he seeks to retain his position as full-time athletic director, which he's had since July 2009 when he replaced Matt Badgley.
Kusnerick has five days to request a public meeting with the school board. His attorney, Brian Schwartz of the Illinois Teacher's Association in Springfield, said he isn't sure whether Kusnerick will seek the public meeting with the board.
If Kusnerick opts against the public meeting, the board likely will render a decision on Kusnerick's role for 2013-14 at its next regular meeting on May 20.
Kusnerick previously was the Kahoks' head basketball coach for four seasons, replacing Bob Bone in May 2005.
Schwartz said three things could happen:
* Kusnerick could be the full-time athletic director;
* He could be the part-time athletic director and a social studies teacher, or;
* He could be a full-time social studies teacher.
During the public forum at the board's regular meeting Monday, several people spoke glowingly of Kusnerick, who was in attendance along with his wife, Lynne, and son Jason.
Hollingshead, who was the athletic director at Collinsville for two years, said the position demands much more than a part-timer.
"Having a part-time athletic director would be doing us an injustice," said Hollingshead, rattling off a long list of responsibilities of an AD. "It is a time-consuming job. Cut it back to a part-time athletic director and our program would not be where it is today.
"(Kusnerick) is very organized, very qualified, and I think he does an outstanding job."
Vickie Mueller, 55, of Collinsville, said people were "angry" about the board's decision to move Kusnerick out of the AD job.
"I know the Kusnerick family very well," Mueller said. "They treat everyone with the same respect. They don't care if they're a ditch-digger or a doctor. ... He is a class act."
The crowd applauded after Mueller spoke, beginning a trend that lasted throughout the public comment portion of the meeting.
Patrick Smith, of Swansea, an AAU basketball coach, described Kusnerick as a man with "high integrity."
"He has morals, he has values," said Smith, noting that Kusnerick has lofty expectations of Collinsville coaches. "Coach K is a guy who holds his coaching staff to high standards. He's a man of integrity, a man with a plan. That's Chris Kusnerick."
Shari Henderson, of Collinsville, spoke on behalf of a handful of people who were supportive of Kusnerick.
"He's the real thing," Henderson said. "He cares about the kids and knows about the tradition of Collinsville. There's nothing I can say about this man that's not good.
"I hope this is not political."
That also was a concern of Mary Belz, 58, of Collinsville.
"Originally, it was said that (Kusnerick's) contract was not renewed because of his unfairness towards some of the coaches," Belz told the board. "My question is, 'What coaches were treated unfairly and what is their relationship to the school board members?'"
Bernadette Canuel, of O'Fallon, called the board's decision "a crying shame."
"He is one of the most honest men --and Lynne one of the most honest women --I have ever met," Canuel said.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.