Rochester City School District coaches want more money.
Not for themselves. They want paid assistants.
On Monday, a couple dozen coaches gathered at East High School to take the fight public.
They say in 2018 the RSCD signed a memorandum of understanding to add paid assistants to the coaching staff. Most county schools have at least two paid coaches for most varsity teams. They say the school district had a fund of a half million dollars to use for the assistants.
It never happened and the coaches don’t know where the money went.
“The coaches have felt devalued for quite a long time,” said East High baseball coach Kyle Crandall.
The request was that the assistants be paid between one and two thousand dollars per season. That would still be far below what most county coaches are paid. An extra coach on the floor or field could make a ton of difference.
“You only get two hours to work with your kids after school. And those two hours go like that, especially when your one coach trying to get 15 young people to do something in practice,” said School of the Arts basketball and volleyball coach Al Nash. “If you could split that 15 up–7 on one side, 8 on another with two coaches–you will accomplish a lot more.”
Coaches also complained they’ve received one $500 pay raise in 25 years and that some modified (junior high teams) coaches in the county make more than city varsity coaches.
News 8 contacted RSCD public relations head Carlos Garcia by email and he offered a vanilla statement.
“All of this is subject of the collective negotiations that are ongoing with the RTA, and since we don’t negotiate via the media, we are respectfully not in a position to comment further at this time,” he said.
The city coaches have another concern raised by Covid-19.
When most of the spring season was wiped away by the pandemic, many county school paid their spring coaches in full. City coaches were only paid for the week or so of practice that happened before sports were stopped.
Essentially, they were paid per practice and they are concerned that offseason workouts with players might now be considered “off the clock”. It could raise liability issues.
County schools are regularly working out, lifting weights and getting better in the offseason. If city schools can’t keep up because they are paying coaches “by the hour” instead of on salary, it will make it very difficult for the hundreds of city athletes to keep up with their suburban counterparts.
“We have to do a lot of stuff in the offseason. A lot of skill development. A lot of camps, workouts,” said East High lacrosse coach Sean Banks.
A sport like lacrosse, that is new to the city, needs the offseason work even more. Many of Banks’ players are seeing the sport for the first time.
“The last five years, I’ve been holding workouts throughout the summer every Sunday from 330 to 530,” he said. “So, we’re constantly doing work with kids.”
The coaches just want a little more help from the district to give their kids a chance to grow and get better.