Dear Editor:

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Dear Editor:

This past weekend a group of fanatic sports fans were together to watch our favorite teams and cheer for their success in their pursuit of the NCAA Final Four. Our conversation eventually turned to whether collegiate athletes should be compensated with income other than their scholarships for tuition, room, board and textbooks. Quickly following was the conversation of coach’s salaries and the fact that Florida States’ basketball coach received on Saturday nearly $500,000 because the team he coached, at a public state supported university, had won a single game! After reading the Post Searchlight on Saturday, you can imagine the next step in the conversation – BOE supporting salary incentives for coaches, band directors and cheerleader coaches for the fact their student athletes, band members, and cheerleaders achieve accomplishments in athletic events.

Now, before the sport’s fans and coaches scream, please understand that each of our sport’s fanatics have contributed to high school athletic and academic programs for years as well each contribute to collegiate boosters and academics. Each of us involved in the conversations expressed a strong desire that every teacher in the Decatur County school system receive a salary similar to the coaching staff which places them in the top 2% of salaries for the entire county’s work force. None of us were gifted with Solomon’s talents to determine how to improve compensation to faculty members when their students excel in science, math, history or other academic challenges or sports or arts. We could not agree how to provide incentives to those teachers of special challenged students when the students achieve beyond expectations.

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This led to concerns for the Decatur County school system. We could not understand how the continued slow drip of qualified teachers jettisoning the county school system for adjacent counties, private schools or charter schools could be solved. Neither could we reach a consensus of how much longer the county would request state approval for oversize numbers in each classroom or require teachers to ignore copyright regulations as they copy textbook materials to allow students to have information in hand due to shortage of teaching materials.

In our conversations, however, we could determine that based on the general information contained in the newspaper article and based on recently paid property taxes for a few of these basketball fanatics. It would appear that at the current millage rate allotted to education in the county, that if in 2018 the incentive clause for only the football head coach (including no other assistant coach, band director or cheerleading coaches) had been in place, it would have required real estate property valued at $27 million to simply cover this one person’s salary and incentives based on the student’s achievements in 2018.

We wish our Decatur County students continued success along with their teachers and coaches whether in the classroom, on stage or in an athletic arena. It is our thought that if today’s coaches continue performing their coaching duties in the same excellent style you’ve developed, you will be rewarded many times as the young men and women you coach turn into the leading citizens of Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia and the nation. And, possibly, someday in the future all teachers, whatever their area of expertise, will receive salaries commensurate with their skills and dedication of nurturing our children for a better world.

– Jimmy Johnson