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Chew to remain girls basketball coach

January 20, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A three-hour meeting Tuesday night wasn't close to long enough.

The Calexico Unified School District board met in closed session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to listen to parents and coaches regarding controversy surrounding the Calexico High girls varsity basketball team, its coach, Jamie Chew, and the action or inaction of district Superintendent Robert Moreno and athletic director Raymond Alvarado.

After listening to 12 hours of testimony and deliberating for an hour, the board unanimously decided, "Chew stays," according to Trustee Reynaldo Ayala.

A personnel evaluation of Moreno and Alvarado is pending. Ayala doesn't expect the board to fire the men but they could be reprimanded.


"Anything is possible," Ayala said Saturday night.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, a number of people spoke about Chew's decision to send a senior basketball player to the junior varsity squad, the resulting behavior of parents upset with that action and the response of Moreno and Alvarado

The parents upset with Chew contend she violated a law when she allegedly closed the gym during varsity team practices after sending the girl to the JV squad.

Her supporters say Chew had no choice but to shield her players from upset parents. They don't think she violated any law.

"We as a board don't believe she violated any law," Ayala said.

Her supporters include the majority of coaches of other sports at Calexico High School, he added.

A source close to the situation said the coaches said parents are trying to usurp the role of a coach paid to make decisions about who plays on varsity and who doesn't.

A few parents say that's just not the case.

One mother sitting in the waiting room of the board's meeting hall Saturday said parents just want an audience with a coach, whether that coach listens to the input or not. Parents of the player sent to the junior varsity squad allege Chew did not make an effort to explain the reasons behind the move.

The board determined that the coaches don't have to make a particular effort to explain their decisions.

The mother said the criticism of Chew is not personal because "everyone likes her."

"It's not for or against," she said.

A father sitting nearby said incidents happened and it is up to the board to do something about those incidents. He mentioned two incidents, one being the alleged closed practice.

"Those issues were raised with the coach and we settled those issues," Ayala said.

There was a general consensus among board members that the issue shouldn't have reached board level, according to Ayala.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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