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Fight to keep Ripon coaching stipends
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Early in the year a budget committee made up of members of the community- teachers, administrators, and parents, was formed to help give input to the Ripon Unified School District board as to the difficult task of cutting an exorbitant amount of money from the school district. One of their recommendations was to eliminate all district extra duty stipends. These stipends are paid to district employees who perform jobs outside their typical job descriptions.

It must be understood that this includes $76,200 in athletic coaching stipends. Coaches provide a service for the students of Ripon High School that reach far beyond the playing fields. Coaching their individual sports is a small part of the effect they have on the students of Ripon High School. Coaches serve as mentors, role models, and in some cases, surrogate parent figures. There are currently 16 sports offered at Ripon High School that serve an annual average of 430 RHS students. This means nearly 50% of the student body participates in athletics. These students all have at least a 2.0 and no F’s. According to CIF statistics the average GPA of a student athlete is 2.96 compared to a 1.9 of non-athletes. Athletics is the “front porch” of any high school. It serves as the primary link to the student body and the community and is one of the first things someone sees when they look at our school. Athletics at RHS generates the revenue to fund nearly all extra-curricular activities.

They spend their evenings, summers, weekends, holidays, etc. for a stipend that nearly every coach contributes back into their programs in the form of the extras; food, shoes and practice gear for needy students, pay for assistants to come out to help, gasoline in private vehicles to attend camps, extra activities, coaching clinics, meetings, etc. There are very few professions where employees are on call 24 hours a day. Coaching is the one exception.

Why keep athletic stipends:

•9 of the 16 varsity head coaches are professional teachers.

•Every sport functions well beyond the scope of their season with activities such as physical conditioning, team camps, fundraising (a year-round activity).

•The revenue from athletic gate receipts and the fundraising generated by athletics is the primary source of income for all extra-curricular activities at RHS.

•There are over 430 students at RHS who participate in 16 sports. According to CIF statistics student/athletes attend school 6-10 days more per year than non-athletes. This is a major source of funding for RUSD: 430 athletes x 6 days x $28.93 (per day ADA based on 2009-10)= $74,649.40. This in itself nearly pays for the athletic stipends.

•By cutting athletic stipends RUSD realistically could expect to save approximately $1,550

•Based on an informal poll, an estimated minimum of 20 student athletes would leave Ripon High School for competitive sports programs. This would result in a loss of approximately $100,000 in student ADA money for the school district. These would be some of Ripon High’s best and brightest students. What would the impact be on the schools API?

•The loss of revenue through the fundraising by coaches would prohibit ASB from paying for officials, league and section dues, football re-conditioning, and a multitude of the nearly $100,000 dollars of expenses it takes to run a high school athletic program. This would mean RHS would no longer compete in athletics.

The far reaching implications for Ripon High must be considered before proceeding with the elimination of athletic stipends. One RHS organization was recently removed from the list of proposed cuts by the budget committee. This program costs the district nearly $115,000 and serves approximately 100 RHS students. By eliminating athletic stipends you will be negatively impacting every student at RHS, not just the 430 athletes. It would be the death of the school.

There is no other school in the TVL, or in the Sac-Joaquin section for that matter that is considering eliminating coaching stipends. Much of the publicity is on the elimination of transportation, game officials, safety equipment etc. These are things RUSD has not funded in years. The money for such fixed expenses is raised by tireless fundraising efforts of RHS coaches and student/athletes and their families.

There are many difficult decisions that will have to be made in the near future. It is vital that when those decisions are made, the welfare and the quality of education for our students be the guiding factor. High School athletics is a program that reaches nearly every part of our community.
Chris Johnson  
Athletic Director
Ripon High School