The former Wolverines coach was hired in January to lead Cedar Park Christian in Bothell.

Share story

The Bellevue School District violated the union rights of former football coach Butch Goncharoff and his assistant Pat Jones, according to a ruling made by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) on Friday.

In May 2016, the district imposed a two-year hiring ban on the coaches due to rules violations based on an investigation by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association of the football program, which resulted in WIAA sanctions. That investigation followed a series of articles in The Seattle Times detailing the violations.

The Bellevue School District also changed pay restrictions for summer employment that allegedly affected the coaches and forbid Goncharoff  and Jones from communicating with other coaches, parents, students, and individuals associated with the district.

PERC’s ruling states those actions by the school district were unlawful because they should have been presented to the Bellevue Coaches Association union for bargaining. However, Goncharoff and Jones were under one-year contracts that initially weren’t renewed. The former was hired in January to coach Cedar Park Christian in Bothell.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Bellevue School District said it was pleased the PERC “ruled in favor of the District in the majority of unfair labor practice claims made by the union, including but not limited to PERC’s findings that the District ‘…did not discriminate against (the coaches), did not unilaterally create a new summer season for coaching, did not refuse to bargain in good faith concerning employee wages, and that the union’s request for reinstatement of (the coaches) is not warranted …’ ”

The district also announced that “we recently learned that the former Head Coach’s lawsuit against the District was dismissed.”

Bellevue was given a two-year postseason ban, had to play a reduced schedule last year and was banned from receiving help from an outside booster club for four years.

Goncharoff guided Bellevue to 11 Class 3A state titles in 16 years as coach of the Wolverines with a 193-14 record.

“The bottom line is that the PERC ruling found in favor of the union on the major items in question,” the coaches union said in a statement released Thursday. “The Bellevue School District unlawfully tried to enforce the $500 in a season rule in the summer against coaches, the Bellevue School District created an unlawful two year hiring ban on coaches and the Bellevue School District unlawfully invoked a ban on speaking. Our hope is that the Bellevue School District will focus its attention onto the many items where they were found to have acted unlawfully.”