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Ripon athletic director fears coach stipend cuts will destroy sports program
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RIPON - The elimination of coaching stipends in Ripon will bring an end to high school sports according to athletic director Chris Johnson.

This would mean the entire coaching staff at Ripon High would be gone, he lamented. The move would save the district $76,200 a year.

Johnson is calling for community members to attend a public budget workshop set for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in the high school multi-purpose auditorium and voice their opposition to the cuts.

Johnson noted that 50 percent of the Ripon High student body – or 420 students – participate in one or more of 16 sports currently offered.

“Our program is unique in the sense that our coaches truly drive the program,” he said.

He explained that other districts have made cuts only in transportation to the games, costs of officials, state, section and league dues, football reconditioning, safety equipment and other fixed expenses.

“Ripon Unified quit funding those items years ago.  Our athletic program is entirely self-sufficient thanks to year-round fund raising efforts,” Johnson said.  “These coaches make a positive difference in your kids’ lives.  These are not just warm bodies that can be replaced.”

The athletic director said that he feels with all sincerity that if the school district eliminates coaching stipends, there will no longer be an athletic program at Ripon High.

“Funding it and managing it would be impossibility,” he said.