A proposed Wake County schools budget would increase pay for athletic coaches, music directors and after-school advisers, who haven’t gotten an increase in extra-duty pay in nearly 30 years.
The increase would allow raises for all academic and athletic extra-duty positions and create a new pay scale based on beginning teacher salaries, to allow for regular updates. The pay increase would be implemented during the next five years.
In the first year, the total budget for extra-duty pay would increase from $8.3 million to $10.1 million. The schedule ultimately would cost an additional $8.9 million per year, according to the school system.
Athletic directors and others say the existing pay scale stymies their ability to attract coaches and other advisers, especially if they want to hire teachers who know students and schools well.
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Some say they’re glad to see action, but would prefer the school board move even more aggressively by implementing the increase all at once.
“We are having to beg teachers to take these positions,” Scott McInness, the athletic director at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, told the school board at a public hearing in April.
For teachers who need a second job and can make more money elsewhere, the pay is just too low, he said.
Under the schedule largely unchanged since it was designed in 1987, a first-year high school head football coach makes $3,229 a year.
A high school yearbook adviser with more than 20 years of experience makes $1,817 a year.
A middle school head track coach who has been coaching for nine years makes $1,000 a year.
The proposed pay bump is part of a $48.3 million increase in local funding that the proposed budget would request from the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
McInness said the school system should act while the current school board members and commissioners are in place.
“None of us know where we’re going to be in five years,” he said.
School board member Keith Sutton has suggested implementing the increase this year or during a three-year period, which would cost an additional $1 million this year.
“I would like to see us try to make that happen,” he said at a board work session.
The board is slated to vote on the budget Tuesday.
At the public hearing, a contingent of athletic directors, coaches and parents, most of them from Millbrook, told the school board that coaches and advisers play an indispensable role in students’ lives as mentors and positive influences.
Mindy McGinnis, whose sons played sports at Millbrook before graduating in 2013 and 2014, said she was always impressed by coaches’ dedication and patience, even more so when she learned how much they were paid.
Her sons learned valuable lessons about teamwork and community from athletics and other extracurricular activities, she said.
“They really were listening to what those coaches and those advisers were saying,” she said.
The budget proposal says student involvement in extracurricular activities results in better grades, attendance, behavior and graduation rates.
Teachers who participate in extracurricular activities also have greater job satisfaction, according to the request.