Coaching salaries put middle school sports in danger

School District 51 athletic director Paul Cain said middle school sports nearly were axed altogether for the 2012–13 school year.

What was the biggest pinch on the district? Coaching salaries.

The district raised middle school athletic-participation fees, which jumped from $50 last year to $70 this coming year, something Cain said covers the expenses involved in staging games, such as hiring officials, game workers, supplies and providing transportation.

“We just don’t bring in enough for coaches’ salaries,” Cain said.

And middle school sports were saved, Cain said, in part by the estimate of what sports provide for students.

“Studies did show how much more engaged and involved kids (who play sports) are in school, and how much more successful they are,” Cain said. “I think you look at that for all sports as a factor when making cuts, and thankfully they kept them for the middle schools.”

The district does not transfer an “enterprise” fund for middle schools, but allots about $1,200 in supply money for the district’s nine middle schools, Cain said. Each school has six sports.


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