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Hartselle may change coaching supplements

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The Hartselle Board of Education should change how it supplements coaches, two retired educators said.

But the board should do so with no loss of pay to current coaches, they added.

At the request of Superintendent William Michael Reed, former school administrators and coaches John Osburn and Marcia Burke compared Hartselle's coaching supplements to those of similarly sized school systems.

They presented their findings to the board Monday night.

The two recommended that Hartselle put its head football and basketball coaches on 12-month contracts, delete extra days added to coaches' contracts and periodically adjust how much is spent on coaching supplements just as the school system does with other budget items.

They suggested that Hartselle make the changes without reducing any coach's pay.

"The whole point of the study was not to take money from coaches," board Chairman Dr. Andy Dukes said. "We wanted to make sure we were fairly supplementing our coaches."

Reed asked the board to review the study results.

"I will make a recommendation at the May meeting," he said.

Local money

Supplements are a multi-million dollar expense for area school systems. Like other area school systems, Hartselle uses local money — money the board can spend at its discretion — to pay supplements.

The state Department of Education does not regulate supplement money, and there is no law that limits the amount boards pay or to whom they pay it.

Hartselle's coaching supplements came under scrutiny during a meeting with the City Council in August 2006. After Reed explained why he wanted city leaders to increase the school's appropriation from $54,000 to $250,000, Councilman Bill Smelser requested that Hartselle compare its supplements with those of other school systems.

After the 2006 meeting, the board voted to stop giving automatic coaching supplement raises, which saved the system about $40,000.

But Hartselle still has some of the highest-supplemented coaches in the area.

The board spends more than $300,000 annually on supplements.

Osburn and Burke said they talked with everyone receiving a supplement except two coaches.

"You have a high degree of enthusiasm and loyalty among your coaches," Burke said.

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