L.A. prep coaches earning less than minimum wage

Prep coaches in the nation’s second largest city earn less than minimum wage, according to a column published Sunday by the L.A. Times.

LAUSDThe Los Angeles Unified School District gave a presentation last week on the state of its athletic programs, and some of the details are alarming. The average coaching stipend is just $2,175.58 — an average of $8.63 an hour — and hasn’t changed in 16 years. That’s less than the $9 an hour minimum wage, and the salary doesn’t include playoff appearances, film work or scouting, according to the L.A. Times.

From the article:

District coordinator of athletics Trent Cornelius did a comparison with several comparable school districts. LAUSD pays for four football stipends per school. Long Beach and San Diego pay for seven and Fresno pays for 11. LAUSD’s top stipend is $2,811 for the head football coach. Long Beach pays $4,748, plus additional money for playoff participation.

“We cannot afford to lose the athletics program any more than we can afford to lose or diminish the arts program,” board member George McKenna said, “but we’ve done it anyway.”

McKenna said that if he had “cash,” he’d turn it over to Cornelius. But the money isn’t there. Board member Monica Ratliff asked for the public to submit ideas on how to improve things. Other than seeking help from professional teams to provide support — and good luck on that — there were no responses from the committee.

The article notes that the stipend is the same, regardless of whether the coach is a teacher in the district. Just 42 percent of the district’s coaches are certified teachers.

It’s possible the average hourly pay for coaches could be far less than estimated. There are fundraising responsibilities and other off-the-field tasks that typically fall on the coach’s shoulders.

The column’s author, Eric Sondheimer, writes that if changes aren’t made, parents could begin exercising their right to school choice, enrolling their kids someplace else. Given the situation, it’s hard to believe that’s not already happening.

Click here to read the complete column.

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