High school softball coaching supplements were a point of interest at Thursday’s Loudon County Board of Education meeting, as members failed to reach a passing vote at 5-5.
Director of Schools Jason Vance recommended the board move forward to pay four assistant softball positions — two each — at Loudon High and Greenback schools. Doing so would provide a commensurate coaching supplement structure and cost between a combined $7,620-$9,908 depending on the coaches’ level of experience. The supplement scale ranges between $1,905-$2,477 per coach, Vance said.
“I think we’re just going haywire on some stuff we’re doing,” Bobby Johnson Jr., school board member, said. “... I was a part of some of this process, but we need to get back on track with doing it the way we should do it. ... When we talked about this before, we knew it was going to come up. I mean soon as we add one we got to add the other. If one school gets something then the other’s got to get something. I think it needs to be a part of the process. Not that I’m totally against anything.”
Two coaching supplements for baseball were approved earlier in the school year, Vance said in a follow-up interview.
During the meeting, board member Leroy Tate said the surplus money would come out of fund balance. Moving forward wasn’t the right time, he said, adding the expenditure should go through the right procedure.
“What (Best) was going to say about Title IX, my goodness, we’ve been putting money into everything,” Johnson said. “Girls, boys, whoever, I mean we — I feel like we’ve been pretty fair. I just think we need to follow a process of doing it the way it needs to be done. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away. They probably do need their coaches, I agree with that. We talked before about our coaching supplements trying to bring them up to fix them where they need to be, but there’s a time if (we) need to do it versus there’s a time just throwing it in.”
Board members Scott Newman and Phil Moffett motioned and seconded. Board members Johnson, Tate, Brian Brown, Gary Ubben and Craig Simon opposed.
In a follow-up interview, Vance said moving forward with softball coaching supplements was more about fairness instead of pure need. Volunteers currently fill the positions.
“When it’s all said and done at the end of the day we’ve got folks that are going to work with our kids whether they’re getting paid or not,” Vance said. “I just felt like this was one of those things. I’ve got to be honest, I’d like to see us improve our coaching supplement structure all across the board. In addition to that, I think that probably a more pressing issue is our salaries for our teachers assistants and our teachers. I think that we need to continue to look to support those and make sure that we’re paying our people in a manner that’s competitive with surrounding counties.”
Vance could not say when the school board would again consider the supplements.
“I’m not sure if they’ll bring it up between now and the spring or if they’re going to bring it up again until the budget season,” Vance said. “I would imagine if nothing else we’ll talk about it during the budget season and see what that looks like, which would be late spring right before summertime.”
In other news, Loudon County Board of Education:
Passed a textbook committee of 20 members from the school district.
Authorized a Local Educational Agency compliance report.
Authorized construction pay applications for $26,325.61 at Highland Park Elementary School and $25,788.41 at Loudon High School.
Passed budget amendments in Funds 141 and 142.
Moved forward with the 2018-19 school calendar.
Approved the second and final readings for policies covering charter school applications, testing programs, teacher tenure, voluntary pre-K attendance, migrant students and school board agendas.
Gave tenure to 22 teachers.