Many have stated that Tolland has the most expensive athletic program in the state. Is Tolland's pay-to-play the most expensive in the state to the best of your knowledge? (With the exception of outlying sports like hockey, which often have higher fees)
According to an OLR research report released in February 2012, Tolland is one of the highest for athletic fees out of 44 school districts in the state, at the current level of $275 for varsity and JV, and $175 at the middle school.
This excludes fees that are specifically for hockey, which can cost more than $1,000 per student.
The Shelton school district charges $100-300 per sport without a family cap, according to the report.
Can you give a brief history of why athletic fees were introduced into the school district? Were they introduced to prevent teacher cuts, other program cuts, etc.?
According to the powerpoint presentation posted on the school district website, athletic program fees increased substantially after the 2009-2010 one percent budget increase resulted in the elimination of 15.4 teaching positions, as well as 4.5 paraprofessionals and 2.5 custodial positions. The 2008-2009 budget had a zero percent increase for the school budget.
Since so many questions have come up, will there be a breakdown of pay-to-play expenses available for parents and residents?
A breakdown by varsity, JV and middle school athletics for the 2011-2012 fiscal year is available on the school district's website.
Do any of the pay-to-play funds, raised either from parental fees or private fundraising, go to funding teaching positions? How are the coaches' fees paid and negotiated? Is it part of the teachers' union contract in any way?
The pay-to-play fees and private fundraising efforts do not pay for teaching positions.
Volunteer coaches may receive a stipend from a booster club, if the club decides to grant one, but that is in no way connected with the school district.
Coaches who are also school employees receive a coach's salary as defined by the teachers' contract. The salary is calculated as a percentage of the contract, which may be altered if the employee has coached the same team for more than five years.
What sort of certification is required for coaches to lead a team?
From Athletic Director Patrick Cox:
Coaches must have a five year renewable certificate (ED 185) issued by
the Connecticut Department of Education. There is a 40 clock hour
course offered by the CIAC that meets the standard to get the
certificate, and several local colleges (ECSU, CCSU, MCC, etc)
offer a 3 credit course that also meets the standard.
Part of the course is concussion management training which is required by law.
Coaches must also be first aid/CPR certified to maintain their certification.
Do you have a breakdown of private donations/fundraising revenue and how that was distributed? Can that be made available to the public?
An accounting of the funds raised from gate fees is available in a gate receipts report on the school district website. The "Friends of" accounts are also available online. These "Friends of" accounts are created for each sport at the school, as a place to keep money raised by student efforts, private donations, etc. However, the "Friends of" title does not imply that there is a booster club for the sport; it is simply a title for the sport's account.
At a recent pay-to-play presentation, a $41,000 discrepancy between the meeting handout and the budget request for the athletic program line item was identified. What is the reason for that discrepancy?
The $153,677 included in the 2012-2013 budget request only included the program costs of athletics (i.e. supplies, transportation, insurance, etc.). Personnel costs are categorized in a separate section of the budget layout.
The $112,358 that was discussed at the school board presentation was made up of three numbers: program costs, personnel costs (salary and benefits) as well as the application of the sports fees, therefore lowering the number. If one adds up the program numbers for varsity, JV and TMS, they add up to the $153,677. Those numbers are provided on the Athletic Program Financial Overview posted on the school district's homepage.
The district will attempt to present the budget numbers in a different format next year, to make the cost easier to read.
To clarify: do all pay-to-play funds (including fees and private donations) stay within the program, i.e. coaching fees, student transportation, uniforms, field maintenance, etc.?
All athletics funds remain within the athletics program.
What does the potential $50 increase ($325, and $225) accomplish? Does this ensure that parents will not need to pay any extra money due to a lack of funds for a specific sport? What are parents and students gaining with the fee increase? Or is the fee increase necessary because the program is becoming more expensive? If so, why is it becoming more expensive?
The goal of the new fee numbers is to prevent the need for extra fundraising after the pay-to-play fees come in at all sports levels. This means that the school district would cover the left over costs for the middle school and JV as is currently done for varsity sports. While there have been no additions to the athletics program, expenses generally increase each year due to salary and transportation cost increases.