Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ways to avoid cutting sports

On another post Mark Rauterkus wrote:

"I am making more than 40 suggestions within a 45-page position paper just released that I'd love for you to read.


See the links there to the PDFs:

http://tinyurl.com/mb6xesr = Google document, PDF, 45 pages.

Nutshell: We can make PPS Aquatics pull its own weight in terms of finances. I have been trying to do so for three years. The pools and swim teams can be paid for by programs if PPS could just get the political will to let this happen. "


Anonymous said...

Can anyone click on the summary pdf to tell us what your get bac? Trying to see if I have a problem or not with my machne.

Questioner said...

The summary link had problems, has been removed. Mark, can you check it out and re-post?

Anonymous said...

i am still reading through the bigger document but how to fund any portion of the plan is a big concern. The City of Pittsburgh is not in any position to take over management of the pools for example. And although our rec centers are so busy with programming that it would be nice to have some gym floors available for community team practices or games, the payment system would be cumbersome at best. Where would we get start up funding?

Frankly, I am still reeling over the idea that anyone thinks it is a good idea for pps to consider taking over the August Wilson Center.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Seems to work for me, still.




But, the link is within the main page.


Anonymous said...

It might be helpful to have presented the position paper with a firm commitment from a sponsor since many factors depend on sponsors. I think that overhead is underestimated. What insurance costs exist for instance? Would have liked to have seen a pilot version involving just one geographic area but encompassing some ideas like co-op.

Good work getting the link removed from the post Questioner, although others might have been amused, some could have been highly offended.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I am calling for the sale of "athlete tags" to go with the sale of pool tags for adults and children. The income from the athlete tags could pay for the All-City Sports Camps.

At Northgate school district, as per the position paper examples, there are user fees for the local age group swim team.

Northgate High School's age-group swim program has more than 130 kids. Each pays $500 per year. Northgate's swim club generates $67,000+ in user fees.

That is ONE aspect of the income plan that kids in the city should be able to have available to them too.

Sure. Some sponsorships, user fees, entry charges and scholarships (need based and perhaps performance based too) should be in the mix.

I am trying to advocate a PULL YOUR OWN WEIGHT endeavor.

The most expensive elements are building the facilities. The PPS facilities are already built.

The next expensive element is getting the PR outreach to get the customers. In PPS, we do know how to contact the kids and the families.

Many families will pay some money for QUALITY programs for the kids and many will be devoted to these efforts in deeds to insure that the programs can sustain themselves. It is much less expensive than doing nothing and moving and seeing the violence escalate.

Thanks for your attention and question(s).

Mark Rauterkus said...

Insurance costs, for mr last year was sponsored by a PA firm, American Water Polo dot org. Cost was $5 per kid.

We have had a pilot program or three. I coach swimming w PPS and last year we won our WPAL section. I coach golf too and I lead 5 sites of Summer Dreamer activities for 200 kids.

I have coached more than 10k kids in my career, since 1976.

Co ops are part of teams I have coached against and teams I coach too. Pgh Combined water polo went to Ohio w kids from 6+ high schools.

The link issue is a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

Mark, you will pardon me for saying this, but your priorities are a bit out of whack.
With the coming budget crisis, let's say this:
1) No school should be closed.
2) No teacher should be cut
3) No counselor, secretary or janitor should be cut
4) No sports should be cut
5) No administrator should be allowed a raise
6) Central administration should be on the chopping block first and foremost. Period. End of story. If cuts must be made, this is where you look first.
7) Consultants should be cut immediately
8) All expenditures should go under the microscope of the school board.

Sorry, but keeping schools and teachers employed trumps your views.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I don't advocate for the closing of schools. Glad you think sports are important.

My views are not teacher nor academic centered. The position paper is about after school times.

The first suggestion is NOT about consultants, but with staff, coaches and stakeholders such as parents, taxpayers, boosters. I am fine w your #7.

What is out of whack is binary thinking.

Anonymous said...

The only way after school sports can be as effective as the plan indicates would be to make a sport mandatory for every student. Attaching a fee to participate is out of the question since there are many who just can't afford a fee, let alone something like the $500 mentioned imposed in a northern suburban district. Title iX is all about equal access by gender, you really can't eliminate equal access by applying an ability to pay to participate requirement.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Making sport mandatory is not a view I promote.

Some places, such as Shady Side Academy, Military Academies, etc, do make sports mandatory.

Other places do make the newly hired teachers coach some sport too. Sports coaching should not be mandatory for teachers, IMHO.

Doing some meaningful after school activities, from Mock Trial to musical casts membership to dance teams to sports is a strong suggestion as a personal view.

Because some can not afford a $500 annual fee is not a valid reason to keep all facilities closed to all citizens at all times beyond the school day. Scholarships for need and for performance / talent should be in the mix.

I am all about equal access. Really, I strive for any access at all at the outset too.

Every 7 year old kid, boy and girl, should be able to swim and be on a swim team for free. That is doable. But those who can afford it who want to keep swimming can pay. And those that can't pay who want to continue should have the scholarship access too.

Anonymous said...

Not all of our schools have student interest/participation, dedicated coaches, interested parents, etc. in ALL sports. Perhaps we could combine schools by geographical areas, retain the dedicated coaches, and pull resources to "field" teams in the WPIAL?

The board/athletic director would need to look at each sport - male and female - and determine each school's participation level/coaching expertise, parent involvement, etc. and then combine schools per each sport - not combine them in all sports - look to strengths and weaknesses. This isn't as hard as it may seem. Any coach who has been around awhile knows which teams have never "been any good," and which coaches are only in it for the money and to pad their retirement.

For example Mark - take swimming - Obama and Allderdice have strong teams. Combine Allderdice with Westinghouse and Obama with ____ (You would know better who has a weak swim program)

Here's another idea - We have 6 high schools. Even if we combine and make 3 "teams," eliminate the City league altogether, join the WPIAL in all sports, and pull all resources - we can make it work.

We could get PIAA approval for combining schools by showing that otherwise we won't have certain sports available for our students.

Once the board agrees to cut even one sport, it opens the door down the road for more sports to be eliminated. Next thing we know, PPS will have NO sports. Now what kind of school experience does that afford a student?

Is Mike Gavlik fighting for our sport programs or is he sitting back and doing Lane's bidding? He should be beating the bushes looking for grants, donations, and any other resources that may be available to save ALL of our sports.

Anonymous said...

I would cut swimming because there are not a lot of students interested in the sport and golf should go to when you only got 2 to 3 students on the team

Anonymous said...

This is where (12:40) you combine schools so that the few who are interested in a particular school, have the opportunity to still compete and have this experience to be a part of a team. Don't we want well-rounded students?

Mark Rauterkus said...

A reply vanished. My bad I expect.

Yes, PPS should do more to address PIAA and WPIAL rules with classifications, school co-ops and such. That is part of my position paper too.


As it is now, the PA Dept. of Ed understandings of what is a school is a school in terms of sports. Hence, we get USO (U-Prep, Sci-Tech, Obama) as on co-op sports team in football, swimming, golf, etc.

Co-ops are good and bad. Each sport and situation is different. A lone golfer at PERRY was City Champ (D8), (sans Dice). He had no team. Putting him in a coop is NOT necessary. He can be an INDEPENDENT and do better.

I think ever coop needs to be revisited. Daily transportation costs for practices and matches are perhaps more expensive than having that school have its own team.

#6, 10, 40 and 43 in the position paper mention coops.

Questioner said...

A previous post came through blank/ no message.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Swimming is a lifetime activity. It saves lives. Those of color are 6 times more likely to die in the water than others. Swimming is a job source for youngsters too -- as in lifeguarding. Like golf, as in being a caddy.

Few, say 1 in 10,000, get paid to play basketball. I've got a full team (say 15) who are all going to or do earn some money in the workforce in swimming and golf. Say 1 in 5 (or so) across the school.

Lots of students are interested in golf and swimming, BTW. Things would be much better if there were valued feeder programs. In golf this fall more than a dozen were on the squad at Obama. Carrick, Brashear and Dice do well too on the links. The lone Perry guy played on his own, not costing the school but a few bucks for green fees a couple of times.

A healthy swim team has about 50 kids. We had about that many last year. A few less this year.

About 200 kids were in the PPS Middle School Swim Championships a couple weeks ago. One place, one site. They'd fill 10 gyms if they were playing basketball.

Swimming & Water Polo is THE MOST POPULAR #1 choice in 2013 Summer Dreamer applications.

Kids are interested in swimming and golf -- or even tiddlywinks -- if it is a quality program. We've proven that.

If 2 or 3 on a team in swimming, it doesn't happen, as is the case now at WHS and Perry. The teams there have been OFF for a while. Fine. But Westinghouse had a nice middle school team this year for the first time in a long while. But at Arsenal, it went away as they didn't have a coach.

Anonymous said...

While I understand your passion about swimming Mark, we need to focus on the whole picture. We need to brainstorm and fight to keep ALL sports. It will be the domino effect if one falls, which one will be next? No one is disputing the value of swimming, especially learning how to swim.

Speaking of strictly swim class at the high school level, (not a swim team) it was my experience that once the students got to high school, they didn't want to swim in class for a variety of reasons. Younger students seem to love swimming. As far as teaching and promoting swimming, we need to provide it for all students elementary grades and up.
I realize the elementary schools do not have pools for the most part, but something could be worked out to provide lessons, etc. instead of gym time.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I am doing my part in the brainstorm for saving all sports.

Domino's are not a sport worth saving. (giggles)

Of course we need learn-to-swim for all. That's EXACTLY what I've proposed.

Here is the rub that my focus reveals. Without the varsity swimmers, there is no hope of teaching the younger ones. The varsity kids are a serious key to a functional aquatics program -- and that's a serious key to a functional sports and recreation program.

Of course, swimming in 4th period, without a suit, without a towel, with 45 others, with no prior background.... sorta sucks.

Anonymous said...

Mark - Lane announced that there will be no cuts in sports!

Mark Rauterkus said...

Shallow victory. The news is no cuts in sports as proposed for the next, 2014-15, school year.

A reprieve.

Whew. Time to think again. Now there is some chance to plan and ponder what PPS should do.

Anonymous said...

Boys and Girls basketball championships
Obama's boys and girls and Allderdice's boys and girls. First, the girls' game was Fri. at Brashear and the boys' game place TBD on Sat. Now, the girls are playing Fri. at Allderdice, and the boys on Sat. at Obama. This is a no brainer to play a double-header to highlight both schools and bring out the fans for both schools in one setting for back to back games to root for their respective teams. Obviously, some nitwit decided to let the Allderdice girls play at home, and the tradeoff is the Obama boys get to play at home. What a joke. PPS is once again missing the opportunity to showcase the girls' teams in front of a larger crowd. What is PPS afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Mark how did the golf team do at Westinghouse and Uprep this year? I Noticed that you been a big Fan of Derek Lopez and his charter school as well. Does he plan on having a golf team at his charter school?

Mark Rauterkus said...

I did not see any golfer from Westinghouse nor UPrep this year nor last year. The UPrep would golf with Sci Tech and Obama kids. Thre is no WHS team.

Do not know if HCV charter, if opened and grown to HS, will have golf. I hope to see water polo as the marquee sport there and at schools.

I am a fan of better educational choices for kids and families of the region. Mr. Lopez and the HCV plus the other 2 applications seem to make good sense to me at this time and space. 5656459

Questioner said...

What makes more sense- an HCV charter (in various buildings around Homewood) or a CAPA Westinghouse (in the Westinghouse building)?

Mark Rauterkus said...


Sports are saved for now article.