Massive Coaching Layoffs in Prep Sports
Public school athletic directors from around the state are scrambling to make the necessary budget cuts as fall sports begin to practice for the upcoming 2009-2010 season.
The statewide budget deficit has resulted in high school sports programs having to make severe cuts to keep pace with the states looming crisis.
At a recent emergency meeting called by Waiakea’s athletic director, Thomas Correa, head coaches discovered that besides the more than 50 percent cuts in athletic equipment and transportation to all public high schools throughout the state athletic directors will also be required to cut nearly 40 percent from coaching salaries.
“We received over $116,000 from the state to pay for our coaches last year and this year our budget has been reduced to slightly over $72,000.” Correa announced.
As a result every public school athletic directors need to shave nearly 40 percent off last years coaching budget and for Correa that meant cutting many assistant coaching positions altogether.
“We’ve reduced the number of paid assistant coaches here at Waiakea in order to keep all of our team sports,” Correa said.
All head coaches have been retained and all 54 sports teams will continue at Waiakea, but many paid assistant coaching positions have been terminated to meet the budget requirements set forth by the Department of Education.
At Waiakea five football, two cross-country, four volleyball, two soccer, two basketball, one swimming, two track, three baseball, two softball, one judo, one air riflery and one pep squad assistant coaching positions have been terminated in order to meet the new budget requirements.
“We’ve had to unilaterally make the cuts so that no one sport was favored over another and we held our head coaches meeting this past Saturday to show transparency,” Correa said.
The DOE has been hit with a $1.2 million reduction to athletics and on top of that has been ordered to reduce the state athletic coaching budget of $4.6 million by 40 percent.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has received $400,000 in donations in an ongoing effort to help the public schools, but according to Correa all those monies will go to help pay for equipment and transportation cost and none of those funds are earmarked for coaching salaries.
“We have very dedicated coaches, but now that they will become volunteer coaches and it will place an additional burden on them and their families.
We’ll just have to make do with what we have and as far as getting additional funds for coaching positions, I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Correa said.
Pahoa High School athletic director, Ron Tomosada, is facing the same percentage cuts in coaching salaries as Waiakea and all the other public schools across the state.
“We have 40 teams at Pahoa and we need to take a look at which of those teams would feel the least impact by taking away an assistant coach,” Tomosada said.
According to Tomosada the athletic budget for coaching salaries for Pahoa was at $80,000 for the 2008-09 season and that amount has been reduced to $50,000 for the upcoming 2009-10 season.
“We’re brainstorming ways to cut $30,000 out of our coaching budget. Like everyone else, we’re feeling it,” Tomosada said.
Tomosada has called a coaches meeting for Thursday evening at the Pahoa campus and will disclose which assistant positions will be eliminated at that time.
Iris McGuire, athletic director for Keaau High School, has one of the largest coaching budgets in the BIIF due to a large number of coaches being full time DOE teachers.
“Coaching salaries for certified teachers are higher than other coaches and 71 percent of our (Keaau) coaches teach,” McGuire said.
The Cougar payroll for coaches last season was $127,000 and McGuire needs to trim that amount to $78,000 for the upcoming 2009-’10 year.
“I’m working with our principal to see which assistant coaching positions we need to cut. We don’t want to cut any sports teams that we currently have, so we will retain the head coaches for those sports,” McGuire said.
McGuire has set August 11 as the date to meet with her coaches and the final decision on cuts will be announced at that time.
“It’s a very difficult thing for me to do as many of our coaches have been here (Keaau) for a long time. I’m hopeful that some money will be restored when the economy gets better and we can bring back those coaches,” she said.”
HHSAA Executive Director, Keith Amemiya, has led the charge in trying to help the dwindling public schools athletic budget by donating $30,000 of his own money.
If you want to help, make checks payable to HHSAA SOS Fund and mail checks to HHSAA, P.O. Box 62029, Honolulu, Hawaii 96839. For more information call HHSAA at (808) 587-4495.
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