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Two AD system creates concern for District 833

With one eye on the fast-approaching school year, District 833 Athletics/Activities Study Committee member Mark Porter is hoping the school board decided whether to add a second athletic director. The school board was set to consider the issue at its Wednesday meeting, after the Leader went to press.

As the sports saying goes, it's crunch time.

Porter and the study committee recommended a dual athletic director model on a one-year trial basis, one that will allow for athletic directors at Woodbury and Park high schools. Currently, District 833 is one of five left in the state with a single, district-level athletic director for multiple high schools.

Before Wednesday, Porter said the recommendation, which complies with budget constraints, has not been widely opposed and shouldn't require major modifications. But concerns remain about the changing job responsibilities and work loads for all involved.

"We're already a little too close for comfort now, so this is the date upon which we need to take action," Porter said. "But we've gotten there properly. We have taken a great deal of time and effort to evaluate the situation."

Porter, who was on vacation the week of July 5, said there were no messages left for him regarding opposition to the recommendation. Porter unveiled the recommendation at the June 22 school board meeting.

Concerns raised at the meeting involved sorting out job responsibilities that have always been handled by a lone athletic director. School board member Al Olson, who was on the study committee, said he would not vote in favor of a two-athletic director model.

Porter said the committee tried to address Olson's concerns in its original proposal, and has not made any changes since the June 22 meeting.

"We've tried to incorporate checks and balances into our current proposal to address what we believe would be some of the concerns," Porter said.

Building secretaries Kathy Newell (Woodbury) and Kathy Shellum (Park) also have concerns about their changing job responsibilities. The recommendation calls for building secretaries' hours to be increased from 20 to 29.5 hours per week. But the increase in hours might not offset the building secretaries' additional duties.

"We should have done it the right way, with full-time secretaries," said Nancy Lienhard, district athletic/activities secretary. "I don't know if 29.5 hours is enough, depending on what we give them or what we don't give them."

Porter acknowledged: "There's some concern that in order to make it financially balanced it's going to be marginally adequate to supervise these programs at the building level."

Interim Athletic Director Phil Kuemmel is concerned with compensation for the athletic directors outside of the teacher contract on which they will be paid. Kuemmel said athletic directors are expected to be present at events.

Porter said the reinstatement of site managers is a partial solution. Site managers are paid for their work at events, and the two athletic directors can increase their compensation by signing up for events.

The board's decision will be the starting point for the athletic director search process, regardless if the position is held by one person or two.