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Posted on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Saline school board to weigh athletic fees and evaluate superintendent Scot Graden on Tuesday

By Danielle Arndt

The Saline Area Schools Board of Education will evaluate Superintendent Scot Graden's performance and discuss changing pay-to-participate fees for athletics Tuesday.


Saline Superintendent Scot Graden gives a budget presentation in this 2011 file photo. The school board will conduct his quarterly evaluation Tuesday night and discuss pay-to-participate fees for athletics in preparation for the fiscal year 2014 budget.

Lisa Allmendinger | file photo

The regular school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty School. Graden's evaluation will take place in closed session at the end of the meeting.

Saline conducts quarterly reviews of its superintendent. The board generally releases a statement after the evaluation.

In November, Graden was given a performance rating of "effective" on a scale from "ineffective" to "highly effective." School board members also discussed Graden's salary and contract length at that time. They directed Saline's human resources department to research the superintendent compensation packages of other comparable school districts and to prepare a market analysis for the board.

Graden earns an annual salary of $125,000 and a total compensation package worth $188,578. The package includes a $34,244 pension, $6,000 travel allowance, $6,500 other allowance and $19,828 in insurance benefits, according to a recent statewide superintendent database.

Saline is the second-largest school district in Washtenaw County, behind Ann Arbor, with approximately 5,330 students. Graden's base salary is the fourth lowest in the county.

The discussion about athletics and activity pay-to-participate fees will take place as the district prepares to address its budget woes for fiscal year 2014, according to a story by the Saline Post.

The Post writes Saline officials project to lose $187,000 in per-pupil funding for the 2013-14 academic year as the result of a state funding cut for Gov. Rick Snyder's "best practice" incentives.

Officials also estimate the district's enrollment will decline by 70 students, which would cost the district another $517,000, the Post article says.

Saline Area Schools play-to-participate fees are $325 per student at the high school this year. This is a one-time payment and then students may take part in as many sports and clubs as they would like.

Saline's participation fee is one of the highest in the county. Chelsea School District recently eliminated its pay-to-play fee, while Dexter Community Schools raised its fees to $250 for the first sport, $150 for the second sport and $100 for the third sport. Ann Arbor charges high school students $150 for the first sport and $75 for each sport after that.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Danielle Arndt

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

To follow up on this, board President David Holden released the following statement in an email after Scott Graden's quarterly review on Tuesday: "Superintendent Graden continues to navigate the District in a positive direction despite the challenging financial environment we continue to face."


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

I thought the Saline Post article said that students may play up to 3 varsity sports for $325, and that any club sports are an additional cost. Did I misinterpret something?

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

OhioStater, not exactly. Club sports at Saline are self-funded and do not receive district money, so they are required to charge students more, sometimes, than the varsity sports to help with coaching, facility rentals, equipment and other costs. So the club sports fees can vary, but they are determined by each club sport individually. ... This is what it says on the Saline Hornets webpage: "The SHS Hockey, Crew, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Bowling, Equestrian and Water Polo teams are exempt from the participation fee because they are classified as 'club sports' and already include an activity fee." ... So it is a different pay structure.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Hopefully they will get more kids to play, so the fee can be lowered. I notice you make sure to mention that the dude's salary is the fourth lowest, but i don't see where you speak to the ranking of the pay to play fee?

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 2 p.m.

G-Man, a fair point. I've added some information to the story that should be helpful. Thanks!