Gerry: I was unable to make last night’s School Committee meeting but regular commenter Kim Scott attended and wrote today’s Post:
The School committee meeting this evening was quite eventful in my opinion. It seemed like there was a lot of tongue holding not to offend the unions.
The amount of $249,305 was cut from the original 2011 athletic budget and then the motion this evening was to restore $176,668. This was to be done by limiting coaching positions to (1) Varsity coach, (1) Assistant coach, and (1) freshman coach that already has a separate freshman team.
Mr. Lang prepared a great chart showing all spending per sport and then giving a per student cost.
Jeff Moore who is Lowell High’s new football coach spoke and said that this was not the deal he was hired for and that there have been over 30 students that have received concussions. He stated that the School committee needs to think about safety before making these cuts.
Dr. Scott made it known that it did not seem appropriate to hear about safety and legal concerns now in a public meeting. Dr. Scott surely would have done her homework on the number of staff needed for safety reasons if it had been brought to her attention earlier as it should have been.
Mr. Leary made a motion to add another $20,000 in addition to the $176,668. This was struck down by Mr. Millinazzo, Ms. Martin, Ms. Doherty, and Ms. Laraba. Ms. Laraba commented that it seemed Mr. Leary pulled this number from thin air and that he did not have an explanation of how he came up with this round number. Ms. Doherty and Ms. Martin were concerned that we are taking money away from educators to pay for sports and did not want to add more.
Ms. Martin then made the best motion of the evening for Dr. Scott to report on how many coaches are needed by the Football coach to assure player safety and then make them either fundraise, hire volunteers, or cut the number of players rather than to cut other sports programs.
- I would agree that Mr. Leary should not just throw out a round number like $20,000 and that his motion should have been to add back XYZ employees that he thought were needed and explain why to the public.
- The coach’s stipends are too high and it seems they were the targets of the cuts vs. equipment, refs, and floor time which is good.
- Mr. Moore said that Everett has 13 coaches on the sideline for the children’s safety. I sent an email looking for the number that is on actual payroll but I would guess that the majority are volunteers. I know Cambridge lists (1) Head Coach, and (1) Assistant only. I think he may be making a mess for himself.
- Other cities that I have looked up have a flat stipend and no step system like Lowell.
- I understand that Mr. Leary and Mr. Leahy do not want the athletes to suffer but when do we let Mr. Georges know the money just is not there?
- I appreciated the ski coach saying he was trying to negotiate lower lift ticket prices to save the city money. It was nice someone was trying.
- The girls and boys sports are NOT equal still