Payson High School Athletic Director Don Heizer deserves a big pat on the back for being able to wrangle increased coaching salaries from some administrators and board members who often seemed oblivious to adequately funding the paychecks.
As mind boggling as paying coaches salaries that were only pittances was, the current practice of pulling the money for those paychecks from Credit for Kids donations, individual sports club funds and pay to play fees rather than the M&O budget is a mockery.
Only a couple of years ago, coaches were up in arms after a PHS administrator directed them to encourage their players to get more involved in fund-raising to help pay salaries.
“It goes against my grain to ask a kid to go out and get more donations or earn more money so I can get paid,” one coach said at the time.
Since the first sport was played at PHS, salaries came from the M&O budget, as is the practice at most high schools around the state.
But just a few years ago, a school board member noticed that individual sport club accounts contained significant sums of money. So, it was decided coaching salaries should come from those funds rather than the M&O school budget.
In agreeing to give coaching salary raises a few weeks ago, the board and administrators tapped forest fees the district might not receive next year.
Which means, next school year — when forest fees run out — coaches could return to the same old treadmill of being forced to solicit donations and raise money to pay their salaries.
That would be a travesty.
After all, coaches are educators and coaching is simply an extension of the school day. Paychecks for both should come from the same fund — the M&O budget.
Studies have shown that students who participate in organized athletic programs often perform better academically in school and have more success later in life than non-participants.
A 1987 study of Fortune 500 individuals at the vice president level, or above, indicated that 95 percent of those corporate executives participated in sports during their high school years.
It’s been proven, coaches can be life changers and they shouldn’t be reduced to fund-raising to pay their own salaries.
Not only is it a slap in the face to coaches, it’s humiliating and wrong.