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To: LUSD School Board

From: Erin Aitken, Lodi High School Athletic Director


RE: Budget Cuts to Athletic Programs

January 5, 2010

It is my understanding that the Superintendant’s Budget Advisory Committee


recommended significant cuts to the Athletic Programs at the four
comprehensive high schools in Lodi Unified. I am writing this letter on behalf
of the athletic coaches, players, and athletic administrators in Lodi Unified;
specifically, Lodi High School. It would be detrimental to make significant
cuts to the co-curricular activities at the high schools for several reasons:

1. Co-curricular activities support the academic mission of the school and


foster success later in life for our student-athletes.
a. Mission statement of Lodi High: “It is the mission of Lodi High
School to provide equal educational opportunity for each student
to succeed to his/her highest potential; to foster intellectual and
social development for all students in order to take advantage of
student’s individual abilities, to encourage the respect of self and
others; and to help students become responsible, productive,
and contributing members of society”.
2. Students who participate in co-curricular activities tend to have higher
grade point averages as compared to non-athletes which in turn
improve test scores
a. Lodi High 2009 Fall Student-Athletes cumulative GPA 3.14
b. Lodi High 2009 Winter Student-Athletes cumulative GPA 3.01
3. Student-Athletes tend to have better attendance records than non-
athletes which improve ADA for the school and district.
a. According to studies, student-athletes attend 6-10 days a year
more than non-athletic students. Therefore; Lodi High receives
an additional 3,444 days of attendance (574 discrete athletes x 6
additional days of school = 3,444 days of additional attendance)
b. Lodi Unified receives approximately $46.29/day in ADA/pupil
which means that Lodi High Student-Athletes generate an
additional $159,422.76 for the district (3,444 additional days of
attendance x $46.29/day = $159,422.76).
4. Student-Athletes have a lower drop-out rate and fewer discipline issues
as compared to their non-student-athlete counterparts.
a. According to the State CIF website, student-athlete graduation
rate is approximately 99.4%

Current Budget Advisory Recommendations in regards to Athletic programs


at our four comprehensive high schools include:
• Cutting co-curricular coaches (certificated and classified) by 50% for a
savings of $207,838.
• Eliminating the Athletic Director release time of one period/day for a
savings of $50,092.
• Eliminating transportation for a savings of $64,800
• This would equate to a cut of $322,730 to all four high schools or
$80,682.50/site (I am assuming cuts would be equal across all four
high schools?)

These cuts hit close to the classroom and have a significant impact on our
student population and athletic participants. There are a total of 574
discrete student-athletes at Lodi High School. This comprises 28% of our
student population. I am sure Tokay, Bear Creek, and McNair have similar
figures. A breakdown of student participation in athletics at Lodi High School
demonstrates the varied interest of students in our athletic programs:

SPORT # of Boys # of Girls


Badminton 20 22
Baseball 48 NA
Basketball 37 35
Cross Country 45 44
Football 88 NA
Golf 11 11
Soccer 36 35
Softball NA 24
Swimming/Diving 35 43
Tennis 15 14
Track & Field 51 54
Volleyball NA 36
Water Polo 31 25
Wrestling 29 1

Totals 446 341

Although the district helps run the sports programs at our four
comprehensive high schools with the support of coaching stipends,
transportation, and risk-management/protective gear, the return is much
more valuable. The following is a breakdown of the cost to run the athletic
programs at Lodi High School:

• Coaching stipends for Fall, Winter, and Spring Sports $117,316.42


• Athletic Director release period $12,523
• Transportation $16,200
• Risk Management (Protective Gear, Reconditioning of equipment,
Ambulances) $22,900.02
• TOTAL COST OF LODI HIGH $168,939.44

No one is disputing the fact that cuts need to be made, but I don’t feel that
the generic cut of 50% to co-curricular coaches has been thought through
very well. There are things to consider when making the proposed cuts that
the Budget Advisory Committee recommended:

1. How do we determine what programs will be cut? Based on the


recommendation I will need to cut my co-curricular coaches by 50% or
$65,356.92. What criteria do we use to make these cuts?

2. Some are under the impression that these cuts can be accomplished
by eliminating freshmen sports. That is clearly not the case. A total of
$14,988 would only be saved by eliminating freshmen coaching
stipends. Where would we cut the additional $50,368.92?
a. Freshmen Volleyball: $2498.00
b. Freshmen Football: $2810.25 + $2185.75
c. Freshmen Boys Basketball: $2498.00
d. Freshmen Girls Basketball: $2498.00
e. Freshmen Baseball: $2498.00
f. TOTAL COST OF LODI HIGH FRESHMEN COACHES $14,988

3. If the district were to eliminate sports programs, Lodi Unified may lose
students completely from the district and thus lose the opportunity to
both educate students and earn valuable ADA dollars.
a. According to the Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner, CIF Bylaws
207/208 (Transfer eligibility) would allow student-athletes free
transfers to any school without restrictions due to the elimination
of sports programs.

4. How will the proposed cuts affect the districts compliance with Title IX?
a. According to the National Women’s Law Center, August 2009, “If
a school decides to reduce athletic participation opportunities or
benefits for its students, it must ensure that any such cuts do not
discriminate against girls and women in violation of Title IX. If
members of both sexes are currently treated equally, then
disproportionate cuts to one group’s opportunities or benefits
could create an inequality and violate Title IX”.

As a former student-athlete, coach, and current Athletic Director of Lodi High


School, I have two recommendations for the board to consider in order to
preserve the current athletic programs within our school district:

1. Implement an administrative fee of $50/sport with a maximum of


$100. Based on Lodi High figures this would equal an additional
revenue of $40,650
(239 multiple sport athletes x $100 = $23,900 + 335 one sport
athletes x $50 = $16,750 totaling $40,650)
a. Student-Athletes currently on free or reduced lunches could be
sponsored by the athletic department or qualify for reduced
payment.
b. Athletic Department would provide a fundraising opportunity for
athletes to raise the necessary funds.
1. Follow Elk Grove Unified current solution to budget restraints for
funding athletic programs.
a. According to the Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner, “Elk Grove
recently eliminated one coaching stipend for each team and cut all
stipends by 10%. If a team had only one coaching stipend, then
there was only a 10% cut”
a. At Lodi High School this would save an additional $25,562.

If the above recommendations were to be implemented it would save the


district $66,212 at Lodi High School making Lodi High just $14,470.50 short
of the initial Budget Advisory’s recommendation of cutting stipends,
transportation, and AD release periods! If individual school sites were to fund
the athletic director release period, Lodi High would only be $1947.50 short
to run the athletic programs as they are. Not to mention, continue to
empower the 574 young people of Lodi High through the medium of athletics
which in turn carries over into the classroom with emphasis on
trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

In conclusion, I hope the School Board will seriously consider not making the
proposed cuts that the Budget Advisory Committee has recommended, but
consider my recommendations of an administrative fee and 10% cut in
coaching stipends. Bottom line, loss of athletics means loss of ADA for the
district, higher drop-out rate, lower GPA’s, and an increase in discipline
issues.

Sincerely,

Erin Aitken
Lodi High Athletic Director

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