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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

sports high school sports

MCCSC coaches lose pay for 2010-11 academic year

Very few things seem to send IU coach Tom Crean into a rage.

Bad calls rarely send him off the bench, even during closely contested games, but mention cutting extracurricular activities and he responds with technical-deserving behavior.
However, Crean is not alone. He is one of many who responded with shock and fury about the recent teacher contract changes at the Monroe County Community School Corporation. The agreement will cut stipends for extracurricular activities, which includes sports, music and all other after-school activities. The stipends will be cut for one academic year.

“It’s beyond sickening to see this and I don’t just say that as a coach,” Crean tweeted. “I say that as a tax paying resident of Bloomington and a father of 3 children in the school system.”

Crean continued his Twitter rant, complete with capitalized words and exclamation points, clearly upset the district had made this decision.

Those directly affected were even more disturbed.

“It was absolute surprise and shock,” Bloomington High School North track coach Ernie Clark said. “I never expected people to vote for something that could ruin so many opportunities for kids.” 

Many kids are told through grades K-12 that grades alone won’t grant them the
acceptance letter into a good college. Extracurricular activities are typically what students use to help their applications stick out, and losing those programs could hurt upperclassmen who are trying to get into college.

Something else that will most likely suffer is the scholarships that seniors-to-be could lose, as after-school programs they excelled in could lose funding for their final year of high school.

Although the new contract will reinstate several librarians, it does not provide money for the teachers that ran after-school organizations and clubs, or any money for any of the coaches at Bloomington North or South High Schools.  

“Surely common sense and all of our children’s futures were put on hold for a few hours when that decision was made,” Crean tweeted. “Not ‘what were you thinking?’ but ‘why weren’t you thinking?’

“There has to be a better way!”

Unfortunately, finding another way will be difficult, as raising that kind of money will be hard to do in the short time before the MCCSC school year starts.

“I honestly don’t know what the options are, but I think there are many rules and regulations keeping it from being too simple or easy,” Clark said. “I think it is going to be tough to find other solutions.”

Finding other options will be the key to keeping the current coaches in their Bloomington High School positions. If a solution cannot be found easily, many of the coaches might begin to reconsider the commitment they originally delegated when they were still being compensated.

“The truth is that I am in coaching for kids, but it is a lot easier to justify,
internally, getting paid a little bit for a lot of time than it is to volunteer a lot of time,” Clark said. “I don’t believe people realize how much time good coaches put in. Most of us make under $1 an hour in MCCSC for our coaching jobs.”

Bloomington South Athletic Director J.D. Holmes agreed, saying it would be hard to stay and essentially work for free.

“I would think that there will be some (coaches who leave), if not all, not coach for nothing ... It’d be hard for me to coach for free now at this time,” Holmes said. It’s just more of a principle thing than it is about the money sometimes.”

But to many of them, it’s not about the compensation.  

“I’ve already committed to staying, definitely this coming season I’m coaching,” Bloomington North soccer coach Victor Kaponosore said. “After that, we’ll see.”

Even as a much higher-paid college coach, Crean realizes it’s not about money.

“My first three years of coaching both as a assistant at my High School and at Alma College I made 700 dollars total,” he tweeted.  “Most don’t get in to get wealthy. They do it because of PASSION, DETERMINATION AND A DESIRE TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE EXCEL!”

The contesting of the new contract will continue presumably until the MCCSC finds a way to pay the teachers and coaches who devote their free time to these extracurricular activities. Until then, many will try to figure out whether to stay or move their family and already-established roots away from Monroe County.

“I can’t justify, to myself, volunteering all of these hours to other people’s families while my family sits at home without me,” Clark said. “It just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

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