OSWEGO, NY – A resolution to appoint the varsity boys’ track team’s head coach ran into trouble again Wednesday night.
It never made it out of committee. Instead the Oswego City School District Board of Education requested the job be reposted.
The current candidate, a veteran coach with decades of experience, isn’t the problem.
The nearly $11,000 stipend, which equals about $1,000 a week for the coach, is the stumbling block once again.
“We’re going to repost that one position. We’ll repost and if candidates who have already been appointed for another position in the spring want it and if we decide to go in that direction, they will resign that position and we will repost that one as well,” Superintendent Ben Halsey said following the meeting. “Should we have to do that, we’ll repost immediately to have all the positions filled in time for the start of the seasons.”
At the January committee meeting, Pam Dowd, the elementary school Home and School Association president, questioned the school board regarding the stipend for the position – $10,991 for the season.
When she saw the item back on the agenda Wednesday night, with the same dollar amount, she again questioned the board.
The candidate, a veteran coach, is a non-OCTA (Oswego Classroom Teachers’ Association) member.
About a year ago, also in a committee meeting, the coach’s salary $6,081 went to $10,991, Dowd pointed out.
“I think that’s an awful lot of money for a track coach. There is no other coach close to that amount of money. I understand that it is tiers and steps and stipends … this is a non-OCTA coach. I find it hard to believe that we don’t have young teachers currently that are interested in that position that wouldn’t be at that (pay) level,” she said at the January meeting.
“The bottom line is the original posting for this particular position, this is the only candidate that applied for that position,” the superintendent said. “By contract, given the years of experience and the salaries that established in the collective bargaining agreement this is the rate of pay they are entitled to.”
In the contract there are “steps” and the sports positions are grouped differently, explained Pete Myles, assistant superintendent for personnel.
“Their salaries are calculated differently, based on what group they are in,” he said. “You can’t just say any coach on step 11 is going to get this amount of money. It doesn’t work that way. It’s contractual.”
“It’s never been (about) the name,” Dowd said. “It’s just the dollar amount. At some point, somebody needs to make it stop. It’s not going to happen this year, but let’s look at the budget and look at next year. Somehow, that’s got to not be that number. It’s excessive.”
The reason that money is there is because years ago, the contract was approved with those steps in it, board member Tom DeCastro pointed out.
“The only way you’re going to change it is you got to make the changes through negotiations. We just can’t make those changes,” he said.