07/17/17 — Schools' coach pay may increase

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Schools' coach pay may increase

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on July 17, 2017 5:50 AM

Pay increases for Wayne County Public Schools' coaches could be on the horizon, after the Board of Education tabled discussion on an increase for a future work session.

Despite putting off the increase for now, the board reacted favorably to a proposal put forth by Dean Sauls, assistant superintendent for support services, to increase coach pay by $300 across the board. Wayne County lags behind most surrounding counties in terms of coach pay, according to documents Sauls provided.

"My proposal was, I used middle school cheerleading as our least-paid sport, $700 a season for a first-year teacher or coach," Sauls said. "Around us, everybody makes at least $1,000 or better."

That $300 gap was the basis for Sauls' first proposal.

Sauls also suggested $200 and $100 raises, with the idea that a smaller raise could be the first step in reaching the full $300 over a few years.

Coach pay is divided into five ranges, with different positions falling into different ranges. Range I, the highest, includes athletic directors and varsity football coaches, while Range II includes head varsity basketball, baseball and softball coaches.

Range III is made up of soccer, tennis, swimming, wrestling, golf, volleyball and cross country coaches, as well as junior varsity coaches in football, basketball, baseball and softball.

Range IV includes indoor track coaches and junior varsity tennis as well as assistant coaches in nearly every sport. Head coaches in middle school sports also fall within Range IV. Range V includes all assistant coaches in middle school sports, as well as intramural and dance coaches.

Compared to the $700 for a first-year middle school cheerleading coach, a first-year high school varsity football coach makes $2,500 a season. All coach pay increases with the experience of the coach, with Range V coaches with 33 years experience making $990 compared to $3,950 for similarly-experienced Range I coaches.

Those ranges have been in place since the early 1970s, Sauls said, and are close to standard across the state.

"I came here in 2003, and I started teaching in 1977," he said. "Nothing has really changed since then."

Last Monday, District 4 Rep. Jennifer Strickland told Sauls she wants to take another look at how the ranges are set up. District 3 Rep. Patricia Burden said that "you need to look at who is making money" when making that kind of decision.

The board nearly approved the $300 increase, but decided to wait until it had a clearer picture of the district's financial capacity to do so. Superintendent Michael Dunsmore said the district is also working on increases for other employees, bus drivers among them, which the board can consider along with the coach pay.