PICKENS COUNTY—Non-revenue high school sports will be receiving a little extra boost from the school district this year.
An amendment to the general fund budget for schools will provide high school athletic programs with $15,000 of matching funds after the school itself spends $15,000 on non-revenue sports equipment.
The amendment, proposed by Chairman Alex Saitta, reads, “During the 2012-2013 fiscal year each high school must spend $15,000 on non-revenue sports equipment (items used on the field of play). These expenditures are to be funded from the school’s sports fund balance. After that has occurred, district administration will give each high school $15,000 and that must be spent on additional non-revenue sports equipment.”
Board Member Judy Edwards says the funds for non-revenue sports are much needed.
“They need new equipment because what they have is so old,” said Edwards. “Liberty High does not have a pit for pole-vaulting, so they cannot have that. Easley is completely destroyed so they’re going to have to have new equipment.”
With a one-time matching contribution, Edwards says she believes the schools can change the face of their non-revenue sports.
“They have been non-revenue,” said Edwards. “But, if we outfit them now with new equipment, they can become revenue. A one-time supply of helping (schools) equip their non-revenue sports will help them to become revenue.”
Board Member Herbert Cooper was the only trustee to oppose the amendment, and he says it will take away some of the athletic department’s freedom.
“It seems like that is an awful lot of forcing somebody to do something when a lot of people are involved in raising the money for the athletic department,” said Cooper. “A lot of people may want to have some input as to how much money they’ll need for non-revenue sports. Let them decide how they want to spend their money.”
Saitta says these funds can only help.
“The high school athletic departments have been well taken care of,” said Saitta. “I don’t have a problem with saying, ‘you’ve got money, you’re making money, give them $15,000 for that non-revenue equipment and we will give you $15,000 on top of it.’”
The amendment also dealt with bonus pay for coaches. Saitta proposed that a pay raise for coaches would be based on performance.
“At the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, sports coaches at each high school will be eligible for bonus pay. The bonus, if given, will be paid from the profits that are generated that year from the overall sports program at that particular high school,” read the amendment. “The bonus will be applied as a percentage of the supplement. While the bonus rate may vary from high school to high school, the bonus rate must be equal for all sports coaches at a particular school. The athletic director, principal and superintendent must approve the bonuses before they are paid.”
Saitta says this is a way for coaches who don’t earn as much to increase their salary.
“Our coach’s pay is low, but there isn’t any money in the general fund to raise their pay this year. We tried something new this year. If a school’s teams are well managed and win,” said Saitta. “The school’s revenue will be strong and the coaches will get a piece of that revenue through a year-end bonus. We’ll try it for a year and see how it works.”
The amendment passed 5-1.