Board dismisses Hovet as Oakland Mills AD, coach

Appeal has been filed after Howard ruling

February 20, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Suspended Oakland Mills football coach, athletic director and social studies teacher Ken Hovet has received notification from the Howard County school board of his termination from all three positions and has filed an appeal, said attorney James Whattam yesterday.

"I have ultimate confidence that once they hear all the evidence, they will act appropriately because there is a great deal of evidence yet untold," said Whattam, assistant general counsel for the Maryland State Teachers Association. "There is also a lot of evidence we have already brought forth that the superintendent chose to ignore."

Hovet's firing, following an investigation into a grade changing scandal by the Howard County Department of Education that resulted in the forfeiture of seven games by the Oakland Mills football team and its spot in the state playoffs, resulted from a recommendation by School Superintendent John O'Rourke.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in Friday's editions of The Sun incorrectly reported that Oakland Mills athletic director, football coach and social studies teacher Ken Hovet had been terminated by the Howard County school board. Hovet remains on administrative leave from those positions pending a hearing of his appeal by the school board, which has notified Hovet it received a recommendation by School Superintendent John R. O'Rourke that he be terminated.
The Sun regrets the error.

Hovet has been on unpaid administrative leave since Jan. 12, and was on paid administrative leave starting Nov. 13.

"The appeal could be heard by the school board itself, or assigned to a hearing officer who would then write a report for the school board," said Judith Bresler, attorney for the school board and a partner in the law firm of Reese and Carney. "The board received the superintendent's recommendations Feb. 12."

Whattam said the appeal was mailed Tuesday.

"We have requested that the board hear the case rather than a hearing officer because of the importance of the case," Whattam said.

Bresler said the board has not received evidence from Hovet or the Howard County Department of Education up to this point, in an effort to remain unbiased.

School board chairwoman Courtney Watson said she was unable to comment because it was a personnel matter. She said she has not followed the situation in the media in order to remained unbiased.

Hovet said he was unable to comment upon any notification or decision to appeal in order to avoid any risk of waving his confidentiality rights.

Whattam said that he has not yet acquired a copy of the investigative report compiled for the superintendent.

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