Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Closer Look - Athletics/Activities Budget Proposals

Hold onto your hats, kiddies, this is gonna be an E-ticket ride fer sure!

Athletics and Activities Director Jim McClowry has offered four separate proposals.  We'll look at each in a little more depth.  Upon scrutiny, they do not hold up.  The big questions are:

  • Why does district administration continue to allow such poor quality information to be presented to the public?  
  • Why does the school board allow it?
  • Did we learn NOTHING from the hockey fee fiasco?
  • Where is HS Principal Lisa Heipp in all this?  As McClowry's direct line supervisor, shouldn't she have reviewed this?
  • Is this the best we can do?  
Cost: $36,194.00

Forgive us, but we're a teensy bit tired hearing about how over-worked Mr. McClowry is. He has said numerous times that it's all about the kids and the connections they make, yet first out of the chute is a proposal to get some help for himself.  With all the technology in this school district, you're telling us that the only solution to scheduling and accessing facilities needs is to add a body?

"It is suggested that this position be in line with current Sun Prairie Area School district positions, such as, the Aquatics Program and Facilities Manager in terms of salary and benefits. At .50 F
TE, the salary would range from $25,625-$31,356. Some administrative responsibilities would include: Evaluating staff, accessing facility and equipment needs, creating and facilitating professional development programs, administering large multi-team events and scheduling JV and 9th grade non-conference athletic events.
[Hmmm...we don't see anything about clubs.  Is it all about athletics?]

In 2006, there was a coaching staff of less than 100. Now, the coaching staff is regularly over 120 members with only 60% being district staff. This makes the orientation, training, education, supervision and evaluation of these coaches even more critical to providing safe and positive experiences for our students.
[We're sorry, but we don't see how a 20% increase in coaching staff OVER 7 YEARS is a ton of additional work.   Nor do we understand why "external" staff require more training, education and supervision.  What...every coach that doesnt teach at Sun Prairie is a moron that requires hand holding?]

Over 1,000 student athletes are processed for compliance over three athletic seasons in a given school year. The increase in transfer students and foreign exchange students wishing to participate in athletics has become more demanding as well.
This number just seems a tad high given the number of kids in the high school.  Plus there's the history of Mr. McClowry not providing the most reliable information.  How many of the "1,000" are multi-sport athletes?  What kind of processing does that require?  One would think that ethics codes are per student...not per sport.  We'd like to see the number of actual UNIQUE, individual student athletes.

 During the 2011-12 school year, 1,320 students participated in a school-based club which represents 67% of students in high school that are participating in a club.athletics has become more demanding as well.
Again, the devil is always in the detail when it comes from Jimmy Mac.  Over 1,320 kids participated in clubs last year.  Is that unique kids?  How many kids participate in multiple clubs?  And the wording suggests that the number REPRESENTS 67% of students in the high school.  Most will read that as 67% of high school kids participate in one or more club.  But that's not really what it it?  Is this more of the district or McClowry being purposefully obtuse?  Why do we care?  Because if 2/3 of the kids in high school are participating in extracurricular activities, that's awesome.  But is that really the case?  Or do they hope that's what we'll believe by reading those words quickly and not asking questions?  Again, we want to many individual unique students participate in one or more clubs?  With all our technology, is that too difficult a question to answer?

2. Please provide data supporting your rationale for this proposal.
" High school:
Conservatively, the district hosts over hundreds of athletic and activity events each school year. Each event has its own unique needs, but all events need proper supervision, emergency response plans and coordination.
It is likely that we will be adding two to four new levels of a spring sport in the near future. That will add another 12-24 home sporting events. These would add to an already very cumbersome and full spring schedule for athletics."
2 to 4 new levels of a spring sport "in the near future"?  He's only proposing girls varsity lacrosse NEXT year and boys varsity lacrosse the year after that.  Those are turn-key operations.  Why on earth does he need help for that?
How about some data?  Jimmy Mac ducked the question about whether schools of similar size have an assistant AD.   That smells like it struck a nerve.

Cost: $27,840.00

The proposal is to increase club stipends in each building across the district. The rate of 2% of Full Time Equivalency (FTE) would be used as a universal amount for all stipends.
[NOTE: This amounts to $580 per year per advisor)

2. Please provide data supporting your rationale for this proposal. 
See attached data.
(there is none!)

3. How will the outcomes of this proposal be evaluated after 12 months? Three years?
Elementary - TBD 
Middle School/Prairie Phoenix Academy (PPA) - TBD
High School - TBD

Really? will it be determined?  Does Jimmy Mac even have a plan?  No approval!

Cost: $7,106.00

Proposal: Add two swim coaching assistant positions; one for boys, and one for girls.
Swim Assistant Coaches Stipends: 7% or $2,030 x 2 = $4,060

Proposal: Add two cross-country assistant coaching positions; one for boys, and one for girls.
Cross-Country Assistant Coach Stipends: 5.25% or $1,523 x 2 = $3,046

2. Please provide data supporting your rationale for this proposal.
1. Provides a more appropriate student-to-coach ratio.
2. Provides proper safety and supervision of student-athletes.
3. Provides more diversified skill development and connection with sub-varsity student-athletes.
4. Provides a high quality experience for students in existing programs.

Participation Numbers for last 4 years:
Boys Swim 17, 29, 33, 45
Girls Swim 18, 28, 34, 48
Boys CC 43, 49, 35, 38
Girls CC 29, 33, 32, 38

Look carefully at these numbers!  Boys cross country participation has actually DECLINED, while girls have remained fairly steady with a very slight increase this year.  Swimming, on the other hand, is clearly on the rise.
Here's a case where the data support PART of the proposal:  additional coaches for swimming.

Cost: $11,010.00 (Year 1) $11,280.00 (Year 2)

There is a desire in the community for the school district to sponsor boys' and girls' lacrosse teams. This proposal rolls out a plan to do so.
A "desire in the community"? Really?  This makes it sound like a few old guys in lawn chairs sippin' brewskis came up with the wild idea to develop a varsity lacrosse team.   That is worlds apart from  concerted effort by a large and growing club sport to be recognized as a full school-sponsored sport!  Disingenuous doesn't even begin to describe this.

Spring 2013-14: introduce a girls varsity lacrosse team
Spring 2014-15: A boys' varsity lacrosse team would be introduced.

2. Please provide data supporting your rationale for this proposal.
See data attached.
Once again...NO DATA!  This is beyond embarrassing.  It's downright shoddy work.  And Mr. McClowry knows full well that the lacrosse program has been requesting this for months, so there is no excuse for not doing a better job.  In fact, we happen to know (and have seen a copy) that the lacrosse folks put together a very detailed report to support this proposal.  Did McClowry use any of it?   Why not?  Does he have some personal issue with lacrosse?  For someone that speaks frequently about the importance of giving kids opportunities and the value of sports, McClowry doesn't seem all that interested in adding lacrosse. 

A participation fee of $85 for all SPHS lacrosse members would be accessed. All other expenses would be the responsibility of SPASD. The expected cost of running a lacrosse program for boys would be approximately $11,280. The Sun Prairie Lacrosse Club (SPLC) has agreed to donate $10,000 for start up costs and to purchase uniforms.

On Jan. 24 the Secondary Principals level met and ranked this proposal 2 out of the 4 submitted at this level. Projected participation fees $85 x 40 = $3,400