Cheer Wide By DJ

The Payson High cheer team practices in September. Payson won the state championship in February. The school board Monday approved a $1,300 stipend for a cheerleading coach at the middle school.

Gotta love sports.

And coaches.

And maybe a return to normal life.

But especially sports.

The Payson school board on Monday approved a host of new stipends for teachers who pour hours into extracurricular activities — mostly sports.

After a year of uncertainty and social distancing, the district made plans to return to an expanded range of student activities next year.

The new stipends include:

• $2,600 for a high school swimming coach

• $1,100 for an assistant swimming coach

• $1,300 for a cheerleading coach at the middle school

• $2,250 for assistant wrestling and soccer coaches at the middle school

• $2,000 for a sponsor for the robotics club

• $2,000 for an emergency response coordinator

The new stipends will supplement an already long list of stipends for teachers and staff members who ride herd on a wonderful array of after-school clubs and activities.

Studies show that such extracurricular activities have a big influence on student academic success, with effects that show up in everything from the dropout rate to the college attendance rate.

Ironically, the pandemic — which complicated so many activities this year — actually made the $10,000 increase in stipends possible. The district received a rush of additional federal funding — turning a potential financial disaster due to extra costs and enrollment declines into a survivable year.

Other stipends for ongoing activities approved this week included:

• $3,555 for the head basketball coach and about $6,000 shared by four assistant coaches

• $3,200 for each head coach in baseball, softball, wrestling, track and cheer — with another $5,000 or so going to the assistant coaches

• $3,000 for the cross-country and soccer coaches and about $3,000 for assistants

• $2,3000 for the golf and swimming coaches and $1,000 for assistants

• $2,500 for drama, band and choral

• $1,000 for jazz band

• $2,000 for yearbook

• $1,500 for student council

• $500 for the musical

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