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Hartselle revises schools' policy on supplements

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Saying the move will save Hartselle thousands of dollars in local money, a unanimous school board has revamped how the school system deals with supplements.

Beginning next year, coaches and other supplemented employees will no longer receive extended contracts.

"We're going to give them a flat supplement," Superintendent William Michael Reed said. "Each coach will receive a flat amount equal to what they are making now."

No one is going to lose any money. But future raises on athletic supplements will not come unless the board receives and votes on a recommendation from the superintendent and Athletic Director Bob Young.

There may be a case where the athletic director recommends one coach for a supplement increase, Reed said.

"But then again, he could recommend all of them for a raise," the superintendent said.

As for future coaches, Reed said, they will have to negotiate their supplements with the athletic director.

Responding to questions from board member Jeff Gray, Reed said the new supplement policy does away with Hartselle's supplement point system.

Former school administrators and coaches John Osburn and Marcia Burke compared Hartselle's supplements to those of similar sized school systems and recommended the changes in April.

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.

On Monday, the board gave Head Basketball Coach Johnny Berry and Head Football Coach Bob Godsey 12-month contracts plus their coaching supplements.

Berry is taking over some of the duties of a high school counselor who retired, and Godsey will assist with the office staff, supervise maintenance of athletic facilities and maintain and supervise the weight program in the summer.

Berry and Godsey already had extended 12-month contracts, but this gives what they do some clarity, Reed said.

Like other school systems, Hartselle uses local money — money the board can spend at its discretion — to pay supplements.

The state does not regulate supplement money, and there is no law that limits the amount boards pay or to whom they pay it. Supplements are a multimillion-dollar expense for area school systems

In 2006, Hartselle stopped giving automatic coaching supplement raises, which saved the school system about $40,000. The system will save more this year because coaching supplements will not be included in the 7 percent raise state leaders are proposing for teachers.

Despite the changes, Hartselle has some of the highest- supplemented coaches in Lawrence, Morgan and Limestone counties. The school system will continue to spend more than $300,000 on supplements.

But if the board had not taken steps to stop guaranteed raises, that figure would have increased to more than $500,000 by 2009, according to the supplement study.

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