Tight budgets, skimpy stipends plague high school athletic programs electricity for refrigeration heating and air conditioning 9th edition answers


Gibbs High School’s football players are hungry when they come into coach Rick Kravitz’s office after school. • Some of the teenage boys last ate around 10 a.m., and with hours of hard practice standing between now and dinner, Kravitz makes them a tray of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. • But money is tight. • Gibbs doesn’t have a booster club. Almost three-fourths of its students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Kravitz has asked parents and churches to help fund the program he inherited in March, but he still has to limit how much peanut butter each child receives. • "We have to ration the jelly," said Kravitz, Gibbs’ fifth football coach in eight seasons. "We have to make it last for as many loaves of bread that we have."

In Hernando County, school officials estimate the district has halved its safety equipment budget the past decade. Hernando High athletic director Kevin Bittinger said he could easily justify spending $15,000 to recondition helmets and replace old pads.

Pinellas County’s sports budget has dropped 26 percent ($615,000) since 2005. Hillsborough County has kept its athletics spending steady around $6 million — less than half of 1 percent of the district’s total expenses — while opening two new high schools.

They pull money from concession sales and tickets to have enough safety equipment. Team camps and tournaments have dwindled. Hillsborough and Pinellas don’t offer JV baseball. Pasco has switched from charter buses to school buses while scrapping most travel outside the county.

"I know we should never have to turn away kids because we don’t have a uniform or we don’t have a piece of equipment," said Phil Bell, Pasco County’s athletic director. "We’ll figure that out, but schools have definitely had to make tough decisions on how to spend their dollars as they’ve seen their dollars shrink."

"It takes a lot of work," said Mike Quarto, who led Gulf’s girls basketball team to five district titles before resigning in 2012. "It takes a lot of phone calls. It takes a lot of knocking on doors to get it done. A lot of coaches aren’t willing to do it at this point in time."

The same is true for assistant coaches who are paid even less, if at all. Football assistants in Hernando and Pinellas make about $1,800 — barely half of what some earn in Orange County. Some districts don’t offer assistants stipends in sports such as soccer, softball or baseball.

The best head coaches in other football states such as Texas and Oklahoma earn six figures with administrators’ pay scales and no teaching duties. Tampa Bay’s top coaches max out at less than $4,500 in base stipends while teaching full course loads.

In Calhoun, Ga., the head coach earned a $17,460 stipend to lead his team to the 2011 state championship, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. That’s more than the combined head coaching stipends at Plant, Bradenton Manatee and Armwood during their state title runs that year ($15,708).

"There’s no one to really bargain for it or fight for it," said Greg Zornes, Countryside’s assistant principal over athletics. "And when things are so tight, with teachers getting cut and programs threatened, and you want to increase coaching stipends? That’s not going to work."

Since the fall, 157 Florida high schools have changed football coaches. That’s the most in the 20 years LRS Sports’ Dwight Thomas has been tracking turnover. Only 34 of the Tampa Bay area’s 77 football schools have had the same coach for three full seasons. Sixteen of them have had at least three coaches since 2008.

"You see constant turnover," said Bill Vonada, who resigned in December after 15 years as Springstead’s football coach. "It’s so draining, and you don’t do it for the money. But at some point, you have to be able to find a way to provide for your family. I can’t keep justifying all these hours."

Ridgewood was without a football coach for almost four months last year as administrators waited to see which teaching positions they could offer candidates. Its athletic director helped lead offseason workouts until Jay Fulmer was hired five days before the start of spring practice.