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Monday, May 11, 2009

School Board Notes: Prom Coach?

Among tonight's meaty agenda items, the Madison Central School Board will consider approval of the teaching contract agreement for AY 2009–2010. The agreement includes the pay grades for the many extracurricular activities (see pp. 8–9).

Now loyal readers know I'm a great defender of extracurricular activities. They add lots of value to education for relatively low expense. But one line of frivolous spending leaps out at me this morning: Prom Advisor. Apparently, we pay someone as much as $1303 (depending on experience, I assume) to help the kids stage prom.

$1303. For a dance.

Holy cow! Last year, I paid myself just $650 to run the Dakota Invitational interp contest at DSU. I had to coordinate a comparable number of people and manage more separate activities in more buildings. And the interp contest actually achieves some educational objectives.

I really need to raise my rates.

For perspective, we should note that $1303 is only 0.36% of the proposed $358,000 cocurricular budget and 0.01% (one ten-thousandth) of the proposed $11.7 million total school appropriations (see 2009-2010 proposed budget, also on tonight's agenda). Those numbers remind us that cocurriculars are just 3% of the budget. As I said, that's a lot of bang for the buck.

But over a thousand bucks, for a prom coach. Thousands more spent by parents to bribe kids with a night-long party and prizes to keep them from drinking and having sex afterward. Throw in the hundreds of dollars spent by each couple, and you've got an awful lot of money going for frivolous purposes.


  1. What DOES a prom coach... coach?!? Do they instruct the guys on how to do a bow ties or how to pin a corsage without stabbing their date? And what about competitions? Are they competing against other proms in the area? What criteria are they judged on? Is this sanctioned by the SDHSAA? Should I stop now before I REALLY run this joke into the ground?

  2. Might this also cover some of the expenses for the event? My first thought is there may be a little more to it.

  3. I don't know, John. The number I'm looking at is in the proposed contract agreement. That's salary, period. All the other cocurricular funding is in the main budget. I could be wrong, but that $1300 appears to be purely wages.

  4. Oh, and Matt: I'd actually be happy to pay someone to teach our young gentlemen how to tie their own ties... and keep them on properly for the entire dance. Otherwise, prom coach should worry about just one thing: the 12-inch rule!.

  5. I just remember the "one, two, up and through" rule... it's for a 4-in-1 knot, but the little mnemonic seems to help!


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