26 January 2011

Edumicational Savings

Here's an idea straight from the playbook of my close personal friend Kinky Freidman: Zero out all school funding for sport. It's bad enough in colleges, where even my modest alma mater falls in with a head football coach pulling down close to half a million per year, but for the love of the sweet baby Jesus and his eight tiny reindeer, $100K per year for high school? That may not be typical (those are LA private schools in the story), but how about this:
Texas high school football coaches in Class 5A and 4A schools (that's 950 students or more) earn an average salary of $73,804, while the average salary for teachers in those same schools is about $42,400

And that's just the salaries of the head coaches, not the assistant coaches, the uniforms, the bus charters, the legal defense funds, the liability insurance, the laundry (my old high school had a fundraiser for new laundry equipment - $65k, and that was with a substantial discount), chalk for marking the field, the practice field, the rental of the actual combat field (for schools that don't have two fields), a full time groundskeeper for the fields, and God knows what else. (I happen to know that in 1975 the Houston Oilers spent $42,000 on Athletic tape. Downsize a bit, then adjust for inflation.)

Well, you say, but don't many of the coaches also teach? Fine, I say and some do quite well as teachers(Hidy, Coach Pinkerton, Intro Physical Science!) but the point is to segregate the expenses.

The taxpayer should not cover jocks. If a school wishes to have an athletic program the program should cover its own expenses. Let them have bake sales or car washes like the cheerleaders do. Let them pursue local sponsors like Little League teams do. Have them covered with sponsor stickers like a goddam NASCAR racer.

If the fans like the product, they can make a mature choice of how to spend the money. They can contribute to the team, or they can contribute to the school.

The University of Houston a few years back received a donation of $50 million - earmarked to Football. That's what the guy wanted. No huhu. I give $50 to (redacted) and 10 per cent. goes to sport? Uh, no. Do not want.

(Full disclosure: Junior Highand High School Track and Field, JH Basketball. Images available at www.xkcd.com )(5-10 and 92 pounds? You bet.)

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