Extra Money for High School Football Coaches Drawing Fire in State - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

Extra Money for High School Football Coaches Drawing Fire in State

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Extra money for Arkansas high school football coaches, and in many cases, lighter teaching duties, perhaps requiring no time in a classroom at all, is drawing criticism from a legislative leader and some state educators.

According to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporting on an investigation carried out by the newspaper, the additional pay for the head football coaches is as much as $30,000 a year in some cases.

State Senator Jim Argue of Little Rock, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says some districts are gaming the system to steer exorbitant dollars to athletic purposes.

Russellville High School teacher Paul T. Gray Jr., this year's Arkansas Teacher of the Year, said there are teachers at most Arkansas high schools who resent the additional money going to football coaches.  He said the resentment stems from those coaches making more money while they may work less and may not even have to deal with students off the football field.

The state's 194 head football coaches draw more than $11 million altogether in tax dollars each year.  More than $1.6 million of that goes to coaches who don't teach any classes.  Some coaches are athletic directors or perform other nonacademic functions, but all are paid out of teacher salary funds.

Glen Rose High School Coach Billy Elmore doesn't teach classes but works as the school's athletic director and maintenance director.  His contract, however, lists him as a teacher.  He said his duties are basically outside a classroom.  Elmore said it's not fair to slam coaches who don't teach because most of them have other work duties.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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