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Funds for Education

July 17, 1988

"School reform . . . school financing . . . special commissions . . . school performance and efficiency" . . . You've got to be kidding. The answer to the problem of school financing in California is quite simple, but no one --from Gov. George Deukmejian to state School Supt. Bill Honig on down to the local high school principal--will ever consider such a move: Transfer 50% of all money spent on school sports to the support of academic programs.

The school district for which I work does not pay academic coaches. I have coached mock trial for three years with not one cent of remuneration. No problem . . . I enjoy the activity.

On the other hand, all sports, including even the most minor, are afforded the luxury of a head coach and an assistant coach who are paid between $1,000 to $2,000 each for a 10-week season.

Our student-body funds are spent according to the same priorities. As a mock trial coach, I was denied student body funds to pay the $80 cost of our team "banquet"--a trip to a local pizzeria; as an assistant coach of the badminton team, I requested additional equipment and received $600's worth--enough birds to last for years. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's uniforms, transportation, league fees.

Our society definitely does not reward academic achievement at the same rate as athletic achievement and our schools can only follow suit.

Gov. Deukmejian may be right in saying that the necessary funding is already in our school system, but he'll never accept the most "common-sense solution" of them all.


Costa Mesa

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