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Limestone board raises coaching supplements

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Limestone County Board of Education Chairman Bryant Moss says voters' rejection of a 1-cent sales tax increase in August sent a message that the system focuses too much on athletics.

The proposed tax would have funded new elementary schools and new gyms.

Superintendent Barry Carroll said attendance at season openers like the East Limestone vs. Athens football game Saturday proves the community puts an emphasis on athletics.

Moss and board member Charles Shoulders voted no when the board raised supplements, which predominantly go to coaches.

"This is the third time supplements have gone up since I've been on the board," Moss said. "I think the public would appreciate it more so if this money went into the classroom."

Carroll said the community expects the schools to compete in athletics, have those services for students and provide staff.

Board member John Wayne King said athletics help keep students in school.

Board member Earl Glaze said gyms are "huge classrooms."

"They are not just for sports, but also for physical education," he said, adding that the older gym at East Limestone does not have air conditioning and reached 126 degrees during the recent heat wave.

A comparison to last year's supplements was not available at the meeting.

The new supplement pay schedule includes $9,000 for varsity football and basketball coaches plus 13 days' pay, and $7,500 for band directors plus 13 days' pay. The remainder of the supplements range from $1,000 to $4,500 plus seven days' pay.

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