Track Coach’s Stipend Can’t Clear Committee Hurdle

OSWEGO, NY – A resolution to appoint ahead coach for the Oswego High School’s boys’ varsity track team never made it across the finish line Wednesday night.

Pam Dowd questioned the school board regarding the stipend for the position – $10,991 for the season.

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 said.

“I think that’s an awful lot of money for a track coach. There is no other coach close to that amount of money,” she said. “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.”

“For that amount of money, I’m thinking I could have intramurals in all of the elementary buildings going on,” the elementary school Home and School Association president continued.

“We still working, trying to work that out,” board member John Dunsmoor replied, adding, “It is a lot of money.”

Dowd said she’d like to know how many hours the coach puts in.

“What are the requirements? Maybe I, as a non-OCTA person, could fill those shoes and supplement my part-time income,” she said.

Dunsmoor suggested talking with the coach to see if he’d consider keeping his stipend at $6,081.

They have also broached the subject of whether he’d consider donating that money back to the district, Board Vice President Sam Tripp added.

“There’s been a lot of conversations that went on about this,” he said. “When I opened my agenda I was kind of surprised to see it there, given all the conversations we’ve had.”

The students want to know about their intramurals, Dowd said.

“Anybody can volunteer to come in and have intramurals,” Dunsmoor said.

“But, we were told that we can’t, John,” Dowd replied.

“Anybody can volunteer; our gym is open,” he said.

“We were told that that’s not doable,” she said.

“It is doable,” he said. “Right now it’s being discussed as far as trying to work it out so that it is there all the time.”

“It’s not something that we don’t want. We all want this,” added Board President Kathleen Allen.

Tripp asked that the track coach item be removed from the committee’s agenda. If approved by the committee Wednesday night, it would have been placed on the Jan. 22 agenda for the full board of education to consider.

The rest of the members agreed.

“I think to be fair a lot of discussion such as this revolves around developing a contract and a lot of the discussion happens in executive session where it is very private,” board member Lynda Sereno pointed out. “I think that the piece that was missed here was the communication back to the (athletic director) based on our discussion. I think this rolled out the way it did simply because of those variables.”

Discussion regarding the coach’s stipend is likely to return for discussion at the committee meeting in early February.


  1. Good job, Pam. Putting the children and their health first! I applaud you! But I think you are fighting a losing battle. This district will do what they want, always have and always will. Proof positive and way too may instances to list, but there certainly ARE instances.
    Kudos you Pam, for caring and fighting!!

  2. This is too funny. Oswego is one of the worst school districts in NY, if not in the nation… with a low graduation rate, high drop out rate, among the lowest test scores in the state, many really bad teachers and principals, and, of the students who do graduate and go to college, many of those students struggle and/or drop out/fail because they were not college ready.
    And yet, the board’s priority is to pay a track coach $11,000. Honest to goodness, this would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic and tragic.

  3. Also, Dunsmoor said, “Anybody can volunteer to come in and have intramurals… “Anybody can volunteer, our gym is open”. Really, anybody? That’s a pretty asinine statement to make considering Oswego has an extremely high ratio of sex offenders to residents, and those are only the ones who have been caught and convicted. Guaranteed there are probably twice as many abusers out there right now preying on children.
    The median income in Oswego is less than $21,000 and median home values are less than $87,000. Only 84% of the population (25 years and older) have a high school diploma and already astronomical taxes are now increasing by 40%. But it’s comforting to know that the board is willing to pay a track coach $11,000 for a few weeks work PLUS extend an open invitation to any pedophile who wishes to volunteer. Simply mind boggling.

  4. Could the salary be so high because the position includes cross country, indoor track and outdoor track? My guess is that it’s for indoor and outdoor boys (December through June) which probably puts the salary in line with the other sports.

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