HS Golf Coach Buys Players’ Equipment

We interrupt your regularly scheduled golf program for a rant:

So here’s what it’s come to in Michigan:

After watching the girls golf team play in poor conditions with outdated equipment last spring, Alpena head coach Vicky Lindsay decided to take matters into her own hands.

Lindsay donated $1,000 of $1,300 from her spring coach’s salary for new golf bags, golf umbrellas and rain gear for her team’s 2007 fall season.

“With the budget crisis and the cutting of teachers, I couldn’t justify the need for the athletic department to pay for new golf bags,” said Lindsay. “So I thought of the idea last spring.”  (Alpena News)

That golf coach makes $1300 a season. I can tell you from personal experience that coaching a high school golf team is, at a minimum, a 10 week commitment.  That’s at least three hours of practice a day after school, every day of the week. On days when there’s a match, it’s more like six hours, including setup time, travel, cleanup, making sure the players get home, and so on. There also are Saturday events.

So at $1300 a season, Lindsay was probably making $5 an hour. She could do better at McDonald’s. And then she gives away most of it to the kids.

But she’s not after the money. She does it because she loves the kids and she loves the sport. And that’s exactly what Michigan’s legislators are counting on. They can underfund Michigan’s education system because they know that coaches and teachers will take money out of their own pockets to keep it going. I know dozens of teachers who spend literally thousands of their own dollars each year to buy paper, pencils, and other schools supplies for other people’s kids.


3 thoughts on “HS Golf Coach Buys Players’ Equipment”

  1. Unbelievable.

    That disparity between what NY & Michigan spends is huge. I’ll have to track down what accounts for it. Maybe NYC skews it—they skew a lot of the budgetary stuff in this state grin

    It’s easy to see from your list where the money goes, I’ll say that.

    Meanwhile look at this—my mom mentioned it when I brought this topic up to her earlier today—Vestal, NY, a suburb outside of Binghamton, has recently built a $4 million football stadium—for its high school.


    It’s part of a $54.8 million upgrade to the school’s buildings which were originally built in the 1960s.

    I dunno. I think I’ll go out on the lawn & practice my short game grin

  2. Hi. Just found your blog via Tony’s Hooked on Golf.

    I don’t understand how the numbers work for education. In a hypothetical scenario, if I wanted to start a school with a bunch of other parents, say for a total of 20 4th grade kids, we’d have to kick in $3000 apiece to pay a teacher $50,000 and have some money left over to rent a space and buy supplies. That leaves nothing for all the administration that would need to be done, benefits for the teacher, etc. Probably would have to raise more to really do right by the kids—and of course this fantasy depends on finding a single teacher proficient in all subjects and all age levels, so we wouldn’t have to hire a new teacher every year.

    I live in a suburban district outside of Rochester NY that has high school taxes (more than 3 grand a year) but in the city itself a 2-person household would kick in about $1680, according to this document
    http://www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2006/0502schooltax.htm (60 percent of 2 x $1402).

    Not even close to that 3000.

    OTOH according to the same source, on a statewide basis here in NY we spend about $25,000 per kid.

    It would seem to me that for $25,000 a kid, we could be paying teachers six figure salaries, easily, with plenty of money left over for books, supplies, computers, and decent sports equipment.

    Where’s the money going?

    Have we messed up by building schools—is maintaining schools as physical structures too expensive?

    Are the management organizations at schools too top heavy—are we overpaying for administrators, and is that draining money that should be going to the kids & the teachers?

    Are we paying too much for services that we’ve piggybacked onto the educational system, like counseling or services designed to accommodate special needs kids? (Not saying those services aren’t needed or justified, but maybe we shouldn’t fold them into the education equation.)

    It’s just crazy. People grouse about their school/property tax—it seems like so much money—but it represents just a fraction of the total tax money that we spend on education—which is rather “invisible” since it goes through D.C. and our state capitols before coming back to our schools. On the other hand, it seems that for $25 grand our kids should be getting a LOT more than they do. Something doesn’t add up.

    My parents are retired teachers btw—in a rural district where annual fights over school budgets have gotten pretty heated . . .

  3. Wow. $25,000 per kid. My school districts gets $7,300 per kid from the state.

    Large sums of money never get to the classroom—either in terms of supplies or teacher salaries. There are the considerable expenses of maintaining a bus fleet and drivers (buses are mandatory for the elementary kids, but a district has the option of providing them for high school); utilities for the buildings; maintenance for the buildings and other facilities (you would not believe how much stuff the kids break on a daily basis); cafeteria operations; IT departments for the computer systems (the computer systems are used to maintain records for federal reporting mandates; in our district of 10,000 students, it simply cannot be done by hand); security expenses (all now mandated after 9-11 by the Dept. of Homeland Security); a personnel dept to keep track of payroll, employee benefits, retirement, workman’s comp and day to day work expenses … the list is endless.

    Our building has a full time secretary to keep track of attendance. This is needed because of the state and federal attendance reporting requirements. There are a dozen people in the district central offices alone whose job is to do the state and federal paperwork.

    We have a counselor in the building whose only job is to fill the paperwork requests from colleges and employers and so on. I know that he works like a dog and is busy all the time.

    We have a psychologist and a social worker. Believe me, they are needed. We actually need two more.

    We have to maintain a teacher for the hard of hearing students, and one for the blind. We have several for the English As A Second Language students. There are a dozen languages spoken in our district

    We have a 20% turnover in books every year due to damage. While we try to recover costs from the parents, legally, we have no right to. And most parents in our district know that.

    And then, there’s the special education issue. I know for a fact that your AVERAGE special ed student consumes six times as many resources as a “general ed” student. Yet no additional money is forthcoming for them. It’s no wonder schools fight so hard to keep kids OFF the special ed lists. The dirty secret is that there are a large number of students who probably should be classified as special ed, but who are ignored by the district because they simply can’t afford it.

    Under Federal law, there must be one Special Ed caseworker for every twelve special ed students. Special ed classrooms typically have a third to half as many students as a general ed room. Plus, they require additional—and generally more expensive—equipment and supplies.

    If a student has a health issue, the school must pay for a full time nurse to attend to him or her.

    And in Michigan, special ed students must be educated to age 25, if requested.

    And we haven’t even started to talk about the civil rights, sports and Title 9 issues.

    School financing is a nightmare of state and federal requirements. It’s very easy for a legislator to tack on another level of bureaucracy, rules, regulations and reporting requirements without ever having to think about the fiscal consequences.

    Wow. I really am ranting, aren’t I.

    I apologize.


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