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Says MUST was top heavy
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin:

Thank you for your recent exposé (May 3) of the educational cartel in the areas of pricey textbooks and top heavy UC administration. Unfortunately your column then misidentified the reborn Acorn League as a further example of out of control growth. 

The replanting of the Acorn League was precipitated by MUST’s Dec. 18, 2015 report to the Board that it would probably need to shut down for the next school year due to a funding shortage. A review of MUST’s IRS forms unfortunately indicates that the issue was less of a funding shortage and more of a UC type growth at the top. Despite a four-year trend of deficit spending since MUST opted to remove all MUSD staff from its board, the cost of MUST administration almost quadrupled to $52,000 while coaches declined to $61,000. Such UC style top heaviness was not seen as sustainable by our trustees and MUST was allowed to topple of its own imbalance.

The re-sprouting Acorn League did indeed quadruple the stipends for the teacher coaches. Instead of about $1,500 for a year’s coaching the stipend is now about $6,000. Having had the past privilege of assisting coaches, I did some rough calculations for an hourly estimate. I estimate conservatively the stipend increased from $5 an hour to $2O an hour. In reality most coaches I know dedicate enough additional hours to drop this estimate below the minimum wage. The fact that the coaches in many ways nurtured MUST at the roots with their previously minimal stipend indicates to me that teacher coaches are motivated by student well-being not by alleged membership in the education cartel. 

It is true that the new position of Athletic Director for after school sports will be making 2.5 times what a coach receives. Still this seems an improvement to me from MUST’s more than 25 times greater difference between a coach’s and a director’s compensation. The later was indeed at education cartel levels.

The new Acorn League is a hybrid. It provides athletic experiences in sports that do not yet have a strong presence in our community. Thus basketball, volleyball and cross country/track are the focus rather than football, soccer and baseball. Student participation has been increased through two week long sports camps and open to all Jamborees. Rather than erroneously mislabeling dedicated teacher coaches, perhaps the Bulletin could consider cosponsoring a Fitness Jamboree with the reinvigorated Acorn League. Rumor has it that there are some good Zumba routines available.

Léo Bennett-Cauchon