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Sat, Sept. 26

Board approves changes<br>to athletics’ budget

A plan by Grand Canyon High School athletic director Dan Lopez to improve his department’s budget was approved by the school board last week. Lopez made a presentation that included $5,500 in savings through budget cuts and an estimated increase in revenue of $3,000.

One of the most notable athletic budget cuts would come out of expenses involving scorekeepers, clock operators and ticket takers. Lopez and school superintendent Ray Vernon believe a volunteer program can be implemented.

“We feel there are sufficient people to volunteer,” Vernon said. “We will pay only if volunteers cannot be found. Last year, we had volunteers who said they’d do it and we still hired them because it was on the salary schedule. They had to be paid, so to speak.”

Eliminating the positions on the salary schedule cuts about $3,000 in expenses from basketball season and another $600 to $750 each for soccer and volleyball.

“On cost cuts, the volunteer program would be a big help,” Lopez said. “I’m fairly confident we can find volunteers for all sports.”

With the approval, Lopez believes the school will be close to breaking event on costs, which include required payment to officials.

As part of the package, the board also approved the elimination of two high-school track meets, if certain conditions exist. Lopez said he met with assistant coach Sally Wahler (head coach Anne Phillips was out of town) and was told that if fewer than 12 total athletes were on the team, then participating in the Lake Havasu and Laughlin, Nev., meets were not necessary.

The track team has traditionally started the season in Lake Havasu in recent years. Both the Lake Havasu and Laughlin events are staged in March and are very large meets in which Grand Canyon athletes have had limited success.

Another cut involves a ceiling on the amount of money being spent on team awards. Each sport is now limited to $150 for the purchase of those awards with amounts over that falling on the responsibility of the coaching staffs. Lopez estimated a savings of $1,000 from that action.

The special Hugh Shevlin and Debbie Clancy awards will be paid for with concession stand proceeds, estimated to be $250.

Lopez also had recommendations to increase revenue, including a higher student participation fee which would bring in an extra $1,400.

Currently, student-athletes pay a $50 participation fee for the first sport with another $20 charge for each additional sport. The approved fee is now $75 per student with no limit on the number of sports. There is no discount for families with more than one participating athlete.

The board wanted to know if there were opportunities available to help lower-income families. Lopez said last year, there were two families who asked if they could use a payment plan for the fees. Policy states that a family can request hardship, even at the old $50 rate.

The plan also calls for higher gate fees for GCHS sports events. It will now cost $2 for adults and $1 for students to get into soccer, volleyball and softball games (baseball not mentioned). Children under age 6 will be admitted free. Admission to basketball games will be raised to $3 for adults, $1 for students. “Super Honor Roll” students will be admitted free. Family members of volunteers will be admitted free.

Finally, Lopez asked that the tax credit form be restructured to allow taxpayers to designate specific sports for their donation. Previous tax credit forms listed only middle-school or high-school athletics.

“We’re really looking at getting serious about taking advantage utilizing tax credit money,” Vernon said. “We want to revise the form so people can be more specific for what people want to donate for.”

Vernon said a situation has existed the past few years with certain clubs campaigning for tax credit money, a practice frowned upon. Board member Nicky Lindig didn’t oppose listing individual sports, but said doing so will not stop campaigning.

Lopez was not able to estimate a specific increase in revenue from the action because donations are absorbed into the general account for athletics. But he said breaking out individual sports could help each team with fund-raising and could pay for “extras” that those sports may want to purchase.

The proposal passes on a 3-0 vote. Chuck Wahler and Jon Streit were absent.

The agenda also included discussion on concession stand guidelines, however, that issue was tabled to allow teachers and other organizations and clubs a chance to participate. Lopez is proposing guidelines to ensure that there are concessions at all sporting events.

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