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Despite raise, DCPS coaches' pay still lags behind suburban salaries

(Published July 29, 2002)

By KEVIN NASH

Staff Writer

D.C. Public Schools coaches are receiving considerably less pay for their efforts than coaches in suburban public schools, according to a recent salary survey conducted by The Common Denominator.

The District’s head coaches, with the exception of football head coaches, make $2,183. Head football coaches make $2,622, assistant coaches make $1,271 and athletic directors make $2,798.

By comparison, head coaches at public schools in suburban Alexandria, Va., are paid $3,100. Assistant coaches in Alexandria make $2,417 and athletic directors’ salaries range from $62,000 to $80,000.

D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Paul L. Vance was able to provide a 10 percent pay increase to coaches during the past school year, but they remain the lowest-paid public school coaches in the metropolitan area.

Allen Chin, director of athletics for D.C. Public Schools, said an additional 10 percent increase in coaches’ pay is being proposed for the upcoming year. However, even with that pay raise, D.C. coaches will remain behind their suburban counterparts.

Coaches’ salaries are not the only deficiency in funding for DCPS’s Athletic Department. Many schools do not have home fields to play on, and if they do have a home field, it is likely in need of major repairs.

"We are still on hold as far as facilities," Chin said. "Anacostia High School is getting a new stadium, but it’s the same field that has been there since the school opened in 1939."

Problems with the field include a 1/5-mile track around the football field, instead of the standard quarter-mile track. Another major problem with the stadium is that it has inadequate seating. The bleachers are old, wooden and a health hazard, Chin said. The stadium does not seat enough people to host high school games, and there are currently no seats designated for fans of visiting teams, he said.

"The project has been on the books for more than 20 years," Chin said. "There was funding [for the renovations], then the funding went away and now they found it again."

There are currently ongoing plans to replace football fields, upgrade baseball fields and update gymnasiums at area high schools. Completing the plans will be tough, according to Chin, with no increase in the athletics budget. The operating budget is $800,000 for schools from the elementary school level through high school.

The Superintendent is forced to make all decisions on budget cuts because the athletic budget is not a line item. Chin feels the situation would improve if the athletic budget became a line item.

"Our plans to improve this situation is hopefully to be provided with the proper funding," Chin said. "Our money is combined with other programs. If the athletic budget was a line item, the city council would make the decisions of what funding to cut instead of the superintendent."

Superintendent Paul L. Vance wants to expand girls’ athletics and, according to Chin, has tried to get a $1 million increase for the budget. The increase was turned down, but despite the setback, an inexpensive girls’ soccer program was started last year.

Public high school coaches’ salaries

ALEXANDRIA

•Head coaches: $3,100

•Assistant coaches: $2,417

•Athletic directors: $62,000-$80,000

ARLINGTON

•Head coaches: $1,443-$5,452

•Assistant coaches: $1,443-$3,849

•Athletic directors: $3,849

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

•Head coaches: $2,622 for football and $2,183 for other sports

•Assistant coaches: $1,271

•Athletic directors: $2,798

FAIRFAX COUNTY

•Head coaches: $3,786 for basketball and football, $3,568 for other sports

•Assistant coaches: $2,583 for baseball, basketball, football, track and wrestling; $1,841 for other sports

•Athletic directors: $56,452-$97,198

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

•Head coaches: $1,897-$5,130

•Assistant coaches: $3,038-$4,388

•Athletic directors: $6,000

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

•Head coaches: $1,160-$2,975

•Assistant coaches: $812-$1,723

•Athletic directors: $3,213-$3,641

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator