The Payson School board at its last meeting approved a slew of stipends for teachers who supervise extracurricular activities and clubs, with most of the money going to the sports program.
The board approved the stipend totals along with fees for classes for the upcoming school year. They put off a final decision about whether to boost payment for some of the people who work at special events, like football games. Currently, they get a flat payment of $10 or $20 for doing things like collecting tickets, but some board members felt events that take more time should have a larger stipend.
The overwhelming majority of the money the district spends on stipends for activities goes to the sports program. The sports program also generates the most money, with $200-per-student fees.
The high school and middle school football program coaches get the most support, including $3,555 for the head coach. The four additional coaches get a total of $750 to $2,262 each. The stipends for football coaches total about $10,000.
Basketball, volleyball, softball, wrestling, track and cheer teams have a similar amount allotted for the five authorized coaching positions, but often don’t fill out all those positions.
That adds up to eight sports with a potential stipend total of $10,000 each.
Cross country, soccer and golf all have lower stipends and fewer authorized coaching positions. But even the golf team has the potential for a $2,585 stipend for the head coach and a $1,131 stipend for the assistant coach, with a dozen or so kids on the team.
The high school athletic director gets a stipend of $2,500.
The stipends for all the other extracurricular programs are much lower than any of the 10 supported sports programs.
The high school drama, band and choral programs each have up to $2,500 for a single position.
The middle school band director stipend is just $500. However, last year the band director covered both the high school and middle school programs — which may account for why the award-winning, but exhausted, band director is going back to life as a professional musician.
The jazz band director could get $1,000, if they could find one.
The yearbook sponsor can get a $2,000 stipend to operate virtually the only extracurricular writing and publications program in the district.
The advisor to the student council and the academic league can get $1,000.
Academic department chairs can get $500 for taking on a substantial paperwork and leadership challenge.
The director of the district’s award-winning drama program gets $2,500, about the same as the assistant volleyball coach. The district stages plays all year round, including a musical which sometimes involves more students than the football team.
The board also approved an array of course fees.
The steepest fees involve the advanced placement classes, including about $94 for a classroom version and $175 for an online version.
The district now offers only a handful of AP classes, because most students interested in getting college credit for classes now take Gila Community College dual enrollment classes, since the MHA Foundation pays the tuition. Students who take the dual enrollment classes can be assured the credits will transfer to the state’s universities. But they have to score well on the AP test at the end of the class to have a chance of getting credit for an AP class.
Most of the other course fees are modest, including $31 for an engineering class, $20 for culinary arts, construction computer and other vocational classes. Theater production classes cost $15, marching band classes cost $20, physics classes cost $8 and art classes $25.
Students must pay $200 to participate in sports in high school, with $50 for a second sport. The fee is capped at $400 per family with several children participating. At the middle school, the sports fee is $75 for one sport and a $150 maximum per family.
Students who want to park on campus pay $35, field trips can cost up to $500 and online classes $125. Students can rent a band instrument for $25.
The fees can impose a substantial hardship on working families, since roughly half of the families in the district qualify as low-income under the federal free-and-reduced lunch program guidelines.
The district does have a limited number of scholarships to offset fees for students facing financial hardships, but many parents simply opt to not participate when they face such an array of fees.