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$2M SHORTFALL: School May Cut Athletic Director

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A northern Iowa school district considered a controversial measure to cut its budget.

The Mason City school district considered cutting the athletic director's position after facing a $2-milion shortfall in funding.

The school board met Monday evening to discuss the proposal and it was met with opposition. Cutting the position would save the CIML district around $100,000.

“If you cut an AD you are telling the community sports aren’t important,” John Lee said.

After heated debate, board members voted to try and find that money elsewhere. Five teaching positions are set to be eliminated and a further 13 certified staff jobs could be next.

A pay freeze will be considered for administrators and teachers. There was also discussion of a possible pay cut for administrators down the road.

Other money-raising ideas included charging for middle school event admission and offering concession stands.

School officials say the shortfall is due to a declining enrollment and because several grants don’t kick-in until 2015.

The Mason City school district has until May 15th to finalize the budget.


  • aightball

    Why is it controversial when they want to cut the athletic people, but as soon as they want to cut, say, the band instructor, everyone’s cool with it? Cut the AD. Sports *aren’t* important. Music and actual teachers are! Priorities, people…

      • Troy Hendrickson

        and again, athletics have nothing to do with education, athletic programs are expendable. Not to mention one can find all sorts of stories in the news about highschool athletes doing things that clearly indicate they have no character.

    • Athlete's Mom

      Ok, Troy, but, why is band more important than sports? You responded to my question about band by just reiterating your negative comments.

      I bet there have been some kids who were in the band who have done bad things too that would prove they were not all of high moral character. So, let’s get rid of band.

      I bet some of the kids that have done bad things were involved in algebra so let’s get rid of that too.

      some people are going to do bad things.

      • Troy Hendrickson

        No university in the country requires participation in athletics as a requirement for admission into college. You’ll find courses in the arts are.

        Athletics, again, have nothing to do with education, so when the money runs out, those things that have the least benefit to the student body as a whole must go first.

        That’s just reality.

        And the last time I checked, college athletics have basically become a corrupt profit driven farce.

        If anything, all highschool sports are for the most part are the start of the farm factories for the pro leagues and not much else.

      • aightball

        Band is more important because it teaches team work first off. It teaches kids how to work together and that life isn’t going to hand them everything.

        Sports, on the other hand, teach that winning is everything (it’s not) and that you’ll get what you ask for (because schools cater to sports teams). No real life experience, nothing useful for later on in life. Arts are important, sports are not, end of debate.

      • Troy Hendrickson

        Athlete’s mommy, what a cute little name.

        But to correct you, I’m a photographer, nature is my focus, and on a routine basis I hike quite a few miles with about 25-30 pounds of gear.

        But you just keep making a fool of yourself. You’re very good at it.

  • Grant Stimson

    Many years ago it was “extra-curricular” – then some years later it became “co-curricular” activities. Now today we are considering letting classroom teachers go but keeping the activities director and, at the same time, are asking why our students’ reading scores aren’t what they used to be and why we aren’t keeping up with much of the rest of the world’s school children. The direction we have chosen to go says most everything about where our priorities have turned.

    • Athlete's mom

      Perhaps if teacher’s hands were allowed to teach, rather than dealing with kids with every type of emotional, physical, and intellectual handicap, our children would learn better and our reading scores would not go down.

      perhaps if parents were more involved in their kids’ lives (buying them the latest iPhone and Xbox does NOT make you an involved parent) our academics would not be going down. Do you read with your kids? Do you talk to them about their day? Do you go over their homework with them? Do you look at their tests with them?

      I do, and my kids are athletes. Athletics are not causing bad grades. Bad parents are causing bad grades.

      • Troy Hendrickson

        Athletics have nothing to do with education, nor does the money spent on athletics benefit the students as a whole. If you want your kids to play sports, then get your checkbook out.

  • Athlete's mom

    Athletics keep a lot of kids out of trouble. Athletics teach kids responsibility, team work, dedication and hard work. things they should learn at home, but, many don’t. An athlete who is practicing 5 nights a week has a lot less time to drink, do drugs, get pregnant, (or get someone pregnant).

    Childhood obesity is a huge epidemic in this country. Getting kids involved in athletics makes being healthy a way of life. They are used to exercising. they think more about what they eat. They learn to like the way being in shape feels. They are less likely to drink and smoke.

    For some of these kids, the coach is the only positive role model they have. The only person that expects, and demands, anything out of these kids. The only person who ever tells them ‘great job’!

    OF COURSE, I know that academics are the most important part of a school system. My athlete is also in band so I would hate to see that cut. My athlete is also a straight A student.

    Athletics do bring in money as well. at $8 – 10/head a football game draws quite a lot in gate money. Plus the concession stand, plus the money from the booster club.

    OF COURSE they should be charging admission to middle school events AND having a concession stand. I thought that was standard practice, it certainly is in Central Iowa. I have yet to attend a middle school event where I didn’t pay at least $3 to get in, and then have the opportunity to buy a $2 hotdog and a $2 bottle of water. Even if the spectators don’t buy a lot from the concession stand, the athletes certainly do, they left school at 2:15. It’s tough to bring food. A track meet will last until 9 pm. The kids need to eat. Concession stand – NO BRAINER.

    Perhaps they need to look at some of the salaries of the admins. I couldn’t find a lot of info on Mason City school Salaries. but, teacher’s salaries looked to be $50,000 or less. The AD makes $100,000? Maybe 40,000 – 50,000 would make more sense. I also couldn’t find their superintendent’s salary, but, I know when Ankeny got a new one, the number $250,000 was thrown around.

    How much do their principals make? Twice that of the teachers?

    For all of you couch potatoes who don’t believe physical activity is important, I hope there will be someone to take care of your children when you have your massive heart attack at 45. Hopefully when they have THEIR massive heart attack at about the same age, because you have taught them physical fitness is not important, hopefully there will be someone there to take care of THEIR children as well. Besides, you never wanted to live long enough to meet your grandchildren anyway, right?

      • Athlete's mom

        Do you even have children, Troy? Are they involved in anything other than school?

        My athletes are 4.0 students, 2 years accelerated in some classes, involved in what used to be referred to as ‘Talented and Gifted’. My athletes know that if grades ever fall, sports will be given up. I KNOW that education is the biggest part of school. I believe I addressed that in my blog.

        Kids who are a part of something are more inclined to support it and do well in it. Kids who are proud of their school are more inclined to support it and do well in it. While I think things like ‘Math Club’ are great, it’s a little tougher to get a lot of kids behind that and get the general student body to have pride in their school because the Math Club won.

    • Troy Hendrickson

      By the way, your “couch potato” schtick is nothing but a sign of just how vain and petty you are, you should realize that as you hide behind your little troll name, insulting people you know nothing about. Childish at best, but I can see why you wouldn’t have the courage or integrity to act like an adult.

      • Athlete's mom

        Troy, I see you all over the blogs. You are generally on the attack. I apologize for my comment about you being a couch potato. Most people who don’t see any benefit in athletics were never involved in them.

        I have paid a great deal over the years for my kids to be involved in athletics. I have also paid a great deal (even prior to having kids) towards the operation of the school itself, through my property taxes. It was ALL money well spent.

        I don’t expect my kids to be ‘sports heroes’. I know I’m not raising the next Michael Jordan. I do, however, believe that by being involved in sports, my kids will be healthier adults.

        I have seen kids that were on the brink of dropping out of school and becoming thugs turn around because of a coach that believed in them.
        Keeping kids involved in school and giving them pride in their school has a LOT to do with education.

    • aightball

      “Athletics teach kids responsibility, team work, dedication and hard work.” Uhm…how? Responsibility: show of or you’re off the team? Okay, I’ll give you that. Team work: *laughs* dedication: maybe. Hard work: only if you win. That’s all sports teach kids: you have to win. And win. And win. And if you don’t win, you’re done. There’s more to life than winning. I used to play sports. Worst mistake I ever made in life. Was so much happier in band, choir, speech, theater, and debate. And other kids would be, too, if they gave it a chance. At least the arts teach kids all the things you listed…and then some!

  • Athlete's Mom

    Oh, and if you do away with school sports, college sports will go as well. I can’t believe too many young people are going to start playing a sport in college.

    Sports definitely bring in a lot of money at the college level. Not only from the games themselves, but, lots of people donate to the school where they played sports because of the good memories. Or they donate to a school because they support the team.

  • Jonathon Struve

    Why do we have to argue about the relative merits of sports or music? Both of them are important components to a school’s offerings because it gives students opportunities to excel, to learn discipline through practice, to keep both mind and body healthy and focused. Now, that said, why in the world is Mason City paying an athletic director $100,000 in salary and benefits? That seems entirely excessive to me. I would much rather see a cut in administrators than a cut in faculty members (unless declining enrollments make such cuts possible without sacrificing the quality of education). And, I might add, to both athlete’s mom and troy, that having a little bit of perspective is important. Your child may not be interested in music and might excel in a sport, but that doesn’t mean that music isn’t an important component of the school. Another person’s child may not be in sports, but excels in music. Why should that student be denied that opportunity. Most college programs have music programs of some caliber, and many offer scholarships to students based on their skills at singing or playing an instrument. Many people have extremely fond memories of their high school choir and band experiences and they go on to form their strongest bonds with people in their music ensembles in college. I don’t think many students will pick up an instrument in college (at least not for the first time), so denying them access to band or music in elementary and high school is denying them a start that they need to pursue music as a lifelong activity.
    A little perspective goes a long way.

    • Athlete's mom

      Jonathan, I have no desire to get rid of band either. One of my athlete’s is a very talented Sax player.

      Troy states that ‘the arts’ are a requirement for college. I can assure you, both my husband and I attended college and received a fantastic education without ever picking up an instrument or singing a single note
      The very first blogger on here (aightball) makes the comment that music and education are important, cut sports.

      Music is an extracurricular just like sports. So, my only question was, why is it more important than sports??

      Athletes also form life long friendships, and lifelong healthy habits. Exercising daily will extend your life and increase your quality of life, probably even more than playing your flute every day would.

      We shouldn’t deny a musician the chance to excel, but, should deny an athlete that same chance? Troy tosses out that if I want my kids involved in sports, I should get out my checkbook. Do the same for band then. There are plenty of private lessons available for kids who want to play an instrument. When my sax player wanted to switch instruments, we hired a private tutor because the school’s band teacher said they could not spend the time with him that he needed.

      I’m not sure what type of major Troy is getting that requires you to have taken band in high school. But, again, if that is your choice ‘Get out your checkbook’.

      and yes, I agree, the AD is a bit over paid. I’m guessing they are not the only admin position in Mason City that is. You do have to wonder though, don’t you, how did they end up $2M in the hole. That seems like an awfully large deficit.

  • Troy Hendrickson

    I base my opinion on cold hard logic, if something has to go, then it’s only logical that the thing that has the least benefit to the student body as a whole has to go. Athletics are not a requirement of any college entrance standards, the arts are.

    And by the way mom, yes I have kids, I also have 6 grandchildren, living in a world where the shallow is celebrated because it’s the easiest to profit off.

    • Athlete's mom

      Troy, I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I think you have a rather negative outlook on life from looking at your blogs throughout this website, or the keyboard brings out your negative side.

      Unless you want to go into a music related career, I have never seen a college curriculum that required band. If you want to go into a music related career, get out your checkbook and get your kid the private lessons. That is what you are telling me about sports. Why should one be different than the other.

      I assume you are calling me and my family ‘shallow’ because we happen to enjoy sports. Seems a bit mean spirited, but…ok, that is your right.

      have a happy life, enjoy your grandchildren. I hope, if they are involved in sports, for their sake you at least pretend to be proud of them.

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