East Providence High School coaches call a halt to winter sports over pay

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EAST PROVIDENCE — The long, drawn-out talks over coaches’ compensation reached a climax Friday, Dec. 14, as East Providence High School coaches agreed as a group to suspend their participation in the just-begun winter sport season.

The coaches, many of whom mentor in multiple seasons and sports, are upset about not having been paid for their efforts in the fall. According to sources, they were originally supposed to be compensated about a month ago, or Nov. 16. Two pay-periods later, Dec. 14, they still haven’t been paid, which led to Friday’s action.

The Post has learned the East Providence Budget Commission discussed the matter in executive session at the completion of its meeting Thursday, Dec. 13. No specifics about the session were released for public consumption, but sources indicated the commission is prepared to pay the coaches in some form, though not likely until discussing the matter further at its next meeting on Jan. 3.

In this instance it appears some sort of clerical error or miscommunication between the city finance and human resources offices and the budget commission is causing the hold up.

The commission has proposed cutting all coaching stipends some 60 percent. It is one of the aspects of the on-going negotiations between the commission and the teachers’ union, which bargains on behalf of the coaches.

The first program to officially be affected is boys’ basketball, its Division I league game against Bishop Hendricken set for Friday night, Dec. 14, postponed. Head coach Alex Butler is one of the coaches who has not been paid for his duties as girls’ varsity volleyball coach in the fall.

Likewise his volleyball assistant and girls’ varsity basketball coach Mike Solitro canceled Friday practice. Boys’ and girls’ indoor track, coached respectively by Bob Lyons and Bob Duarte who coach football and cross country in the fall, also did not practice Friday.

The EPHS swim teams did travel to their meet scheduled for Friday afternoon. Wrestling will take part in a tournament scheduled for Saturday morning, but coach Tom Galligan has indicated to his counterparts he will follow the others and stop participating in the program when the event is over.

The EPHS hockey game in Smithfield Friday night was still a go. When reached by phone Friday afternoon, head coach Kevin Croke, who is not a teacher, said he was unaware of the action taken by his peers. He also said postponing and rescheduling a hockey game is different than other sports due to the paucity of ice time available. He expects the Townies’ game scheduled for Lynch Arena in Pawtucket Saturday night, Dec. 15, to take place as scheduled as well.

The situation in East Providence is similar to that which occurred in Central Falls last school year. Also under the direction of a state over-seer, Central Falls did not pay any of its coaches until the money was procured at the end of the 2011-12 term.

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3 Comments

  1. Heather said:

    It is absolutely insane that these people were due to be paid November 16th for a job they have already done. I for one appreciate everything these coaches do and they should be fairly compensated for their dedication to the children of East Providence High School. Please stop taking budget constraints out on the kids. Extracurricular activities have been proven to be beneficial for their overall well being!

  2. bjd21 said:

    Here we go! For some time, I have felt that the East Providence School Department is crumbling. I am glad that the coaches are not allowing the Budget Commission to continue its antics. Imagine…….. blaming “a clerical error or miscommunication.” It seems to me that this kind of mentality is the same as someone sending a check in the mail without signing it. Anything to prolong the payment. Unfortunately, once again students suffer for the rediculous decisions of the Budget Commission. If the Budget Commission had scrutinized the budget sent to them from the school department, they would have uncovered additional instances where money could have been saved. Why does the executive secretary need a $9,000 stipend? Could it be to take notes at school committee meetings and address a female as “Mr.?” You would think that she would proof-read the minutes. I was very offended to see that I was referred to as “Mr. in minutes that were sent to the Secretary of State a few months ago. Perhaps, another scrutiny should have been reducing the salary of a non-certified employee from $93,000 to that of a clerk’s salary since there is no certification to warrant the position. No problem, Someone who is certified as a special educator canpossibly
    take responsibility and sign off on those tasks. Congratulations coaches….for standing up for your rights. Perhaps, the rest of the employees should do the same. There is strength in numbers.

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