Mini-controversy averted at East Providence High School as coaches receive compensation

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EAST PROVIDENCE — A mini-controversy was averted in the city’s athletic community when the East Providence High School coaches were paid Monday, Dec. 17, for their efforts in the recently completed fall sports season.

The coaches received their checks from district athletic director Paul Amaral mid-morning, meaning sports are back on in their entirety after a brief quasi-strike. Mr. Amaral said he hand-delivered as many of the checks he possibly could after picking them up from the school department office on Burnside Avenue.

The only game postponed was boys’ basketball against Bishop Hendricken Friday, Dec. 14. Mr. Amaral said a make-up date will made shortly. Practices for many of the other sports were canceled over the weekend, but all training sessions and games are now back on as scheduled.

“We’re moving ahead with the winter season going forward,” Mr. Amaral said Monday. “It’s a great relief after a long weekend of dealing with this issue.”

Late last week, several of the coaches, who also currently guide teams in the winter, expressed their displeasure with not having been paid for their fall work. Typically, they receive their compensation for each season after it has been over for two weeks. In the case of fall sports, EPHS coaches usually get their checks one to two pay periods after the season concludes in early November each year.

However, this fall, with possible cuts of as much as 60 percent in coaches’ stipends being negotiated between the budget commission and the East Providence teachers’ union, there appeared to be some miscommunication among administrators.

Those cuts, while still on the bargaining table, were not negotiated in time to be put into effect for the 2012 fall season. Thus, the coaches were and did receive the full amount of compensation listed in the current deal between the city and the union. For most of the seven varsity head coaches in the fall, their salary was around $3,500 apiece. Assistant coaches each earned in the neighborhood of $2,500. The football coach is the highest paid of the season at approximately $6,000.

The reason for the delay appears to have been a misunderstanding on the subject between the commission and city administrators. That was cleared up by Monday morning and the checks were released.

“It’s a huge relief that this is over,” said Mike Solitro, a Riverside Middle School teacher, assistant girls’ volleyball coach in the fall and head girls’ basketball coach in the winter.

“It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this, but I’m sure we are all looking forward to getting back to doing what we love, which is coaching and working with the kids, and putting this all behind us,” he added.

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