You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:30 a.m.

Ann Arbor Public Schools 2012-13 athletic spending at a glance

By Kyle Austin

Ann Arbor Public Schools spent nearly $3 million on athletics during the 2012-13 school year. Here is a breakdown of where some of that money went:

More than $1 million of the district’s $2.8 million athletic budget went to coaches salaries, with another $367,000 going toward retirement and FICA

Coaches salaries vary depending on whether a coach is otherwise employed at AAPS, how long they have coached and which sport they coach. Figures do not include retirement, FICA and other related costs.


AAPS employees earn points for taking on coaching duties, ranging from 893 for being a head football coach to 298 points for an assistant cross country coach. Last year, coaches got $7.10 per point earned.

In the end, there's a wide range of total salaries paid to various coaching staffs, from $171,048 for football to just over $30,000 for softball.

Pioneer coaches were paid the most, followed by Huron and Skyline coaches.


Equipment spending also varied widely by school and by sport, depending on each school's needs. Equipment costs not covered by the athletic department are covered by each sport's booster club.


DJ Earl

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

"This article also appears on Comment now" That "Comment now" link takes you right back to this article. That's two already just today, along with the "Comment Now on MLive" link on another article that led to a "Server not found" error that somebody else found. Amazing.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Yike, sorry about that guys. That button/link should not be appearing on old stories, hence why it is looping. We'll get on fixing that right away.

DJ Earl

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Make that, "Leads to a 'Server not found' error," as in, it's still that way.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 5:51 a.m.

Just out of curiosity, what were their respective spending amounts for art and music? And teacher's salaries?

DJ Earl

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

People here have been asking about athletic spending for some time. This article is about athletic spending.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

It was interesting that at the high school booster club booths at the UM/Notre Dame game, I did not see ANY kids working the Pioneer booth to help raise funds, just a bunch if mommies and daddies doing all the work. The Skyline booth had a few adults supervising, and several kids WORKING to help support their teams and fundraise. Huge difference when the kids actually participate, vs. when the parents do all the work while the kids are home playing video games.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

It would be interesting to see how much is made at revenue earning sporting events? Especially, since they do not charge AAPS employees or their families entrance fees. Or rentals of fields, courts,etc. How is that money used?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

The coaching salaries listed are a team total for all head and assistant coaches. Some teams have many coaches (football) and some have only a couple. Most coaches at the varsity level earn $5,000-7,000. They don't coach for the money, they do it for the enjoyment of helping the athletes grow and become better young adults.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:27 a.m.

Those coaches, who are AAPS employees, should be hired as sub-contractors through WISD. Same as any other coach. Their retirement package is adequately funded already.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

It shouldn't be added to their retirements. It is for the love of helping out the students after all, right?

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

OK, they do extra work and so they get extra benefits. I have no problem with that. It works the same way for me in my job, and many other people as well.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

For those that are teachers that $5-7,000 a year in pay bump turns into a similar bump in retirement money for the rest of their lives, paid for by the schools contribution to the teachers retirement fund.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Your salary range overlooks the bottom point of $0 for Pioneer crew. That team has at least 80 kids, and they all get out on the water at each event (at least in the fall season, and for at least half of the spring season). How many kids participate in basketball, I wonder?

Sieben 7

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Although for some reason Pioneer does not contribute to the Crew expenses ( a concession in order to obtain varsity status, I beleive) the expenses to the individual rower approximate nearly $2000 for a school year. Basketball, while having a high paid coaching staff also generates revenue which would be interesting to track as well.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

$12,875 for Skyline's softball coach last year which works out to $6400 per win - what a bargain.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Yes, there were two assistant coaches and yes they are shopping for a new coach - thankfully.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Was there an assistant coach, and would that coaches salary be included in the $12K.? Aren't they shopping for new coaches? (One would hope)


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

$2.8 million for coaching costs, I note that the athletic directors, their office professionals, and the athletic supervisor are not included in these numbers. Nor is the amount raised by boosters. Nor is the amount spent from the general fund for field maintenance, heat, light, etc. Nor is the overtime for non-coaches from staff. Nor is the amount of bond fund and sinking fund money spent on new facilities. Best guess is that this represents around 10 percent (yes TEN PERCENT) of the money that is spent on athletics each year by AAPS, and the community that supports AAPS. 33 sports of which the numbers above represent 22 of those sports.

Charles Curtis

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

There are a few other sports offered which have no AAPS support, they just collect the athletic benefit fee of $35 for those sports, no pay to play, The club sports still where school uniforms (at the player expense), they earn letters, compete in state tournaments. I suppose eventually most sports will become club status.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

I don't buy your secret booster club conspiracy theory either DonBee. I have seen the treasurer's report at Skyline...not anywhere close to 3 if!

Russ Miller

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

DonBee, Are you going to concede that you were wrong about 2.8M for coaching costs? I don't buy your "secret number" booster conspiracies. How do you get from the numbers M.Haney reports (which are generally consistent with the IRS from 990's) to 3 million? Can you source that any better than "One or two discussions"?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

Mr. Miller - Boosters are not a "red herring" but rather an indication of the total amount spent. Everyone says the district is cutting way back on sports and it is not fair, but sports probably get more money than any other discretionary part of the budget, and there seems to be enough booster money to cover ALL of the transfer of funds from the general fund. M. Haney - There is WAY more than $200-300k in booster money, unless you are going by sport by high school. One or two discussions have put another zero behind those numbers at a couple of high schools, but since the numbers are secret, we will never know what the real numbers are.

Russ Miller

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Read carefully! $1.05M in direct coaching costs. $2.8M includes Athletic directors and office professionals. Booster funds are a red herring as far as AAPS funding goes. Why keep flogging it?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

@DonBee Your estimates are way on the high side again. AAPS spends 1.7% of their budget on athletics. A typical Booster Club raises $200-$300K a year. Booster Clubs income is entirely from donations which are at no additional cost to the school district. The amount of student athletes supported by these dollars is about 50% if the total student body. These costs are spread over about 2400 student athletes for the 3 high schools. Sports programs benefit many students, not just a few. The other sports not listed are entirely self funded by their athletes. They do enjoy the use of AAPS facilities at no cost. I would compare this to the same facility usage enjoyed by music and the arts participants for practice rooms and the auditoriums. And yes, these same groups are also benefited by sinking fund dollars.

Dog Guy

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

What is the annual expense for that swing set in front of Community High School?

Dog Guy

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

As you are aware, jns131, the CHS swing team has been undefeated for many swing seasons.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Swinging is a sport. It is not just as high as you can go but after jumping off? As far as it can throw you. So they probably spent a good sizable amount of money for this good swing. Not.

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Probably $2 of grease every spring so it doesn't squeak.

Connecting Dots

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

I'd like a discussion how just how football contributes to a student's academic achievement. The money for schools should be spent on schools for and about learning:books, buildings, teachers. Watch the debate on-line "Intelligence squared" is the name of the program and the debate question last night was "Should Football be abolished." The audience voted both before and after the debate and the result was in favor of abolishing (college) football. One thing not discussed much are the injuries to the players' skulls. Entertainment at the kids' expense???? Really?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

How about abolishing everything that is unsave like eating, driving, breathing, etc. Are you serious? We can send these kids to war but not let them play football???????

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

I question the use of the word "intelligence" when they're spending time talking about something that will never happen (abolishing college football).


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

I would like to know the cost per student athlete, by sport. How much does the district spend on each football player, versus each swimmer, versus each cross country runner, for instance? And how does that cost change when the cost of facilities maintenance is figured in?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

DonBee: I do not understand your beef with booster club money which is raised by athletes and parents through car washes, pancake and spaghetti dinners and the like. In the future, there will be even more pressure on individual teams to raise money for their own expenses through various and creative fundraising efforts. What's wrong with that?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

How much does it cost for each tuba and saxaphone player? really?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

cmayhew - We will never know because so much of the money is coming through boosters. If I had to guess, it would be crew is the most expensive and cross country is the least expensive, just based on the amount of equipment that each needs. But that is only a guess. The coaching money is the TIP of the iceberg.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : noon

Why is there such a discrepancy in the Equipment budgets between the three major high school?

Kyle Austin

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Adding on to what the others have said here, Skyline being a new school with almost no alumni base had made fundraising harder than at the more established high schools


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The VAST majority of equipment comes through the booster channel. For instance a low end 8+cox shell for the crew team without options is about $25,000. A reasonable set of shoulder pads for football is between $150 and $250 a set. Wrestling mats with no logo are between $200 and $500 depending on quality. None of the numbers actually reflect the real cost of equipment. It might cover balls (pucks) but not the rest of the equipment. One person associated with the crew teams told me a couple of years ago that between the boat house, trailers, shells and other equipment that the crew team had over $500,000 in equipment and facilities. Whether then were pulling my leg or not, I don't know. I do know that they don't run low end boats on the crew team. One estimate that I have seen from a reporter is that the boosters raise between $4 and $10 million a year to support the various teams, in addition to the $3 million from the schools.

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I'm guessing if you looked at the trends they might fluctuate and balance more. Each sport and each school will go through periods of replacing older equipment and living with existing equipment for a while. For example, I'd be willing to bet that Skyline's budget was higher when it was new, since it would have been building it's collection of equipment, and perhaps it will increase again as that equipment starts to wear out. Just speculation, though.

Sieben 7

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

I was curious what table 2 represented. Also I believe crew is coed, are there other coed sports offered?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

The teams listed in table 2 are strictly all girls or all boys teams. Table 2 is missing the numbers on crew because it is co-ed. There are other sports that are co-ed but not listed because they are not varsity sports and therefore not funded at all by AAPS.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Just looking at the baseball & volleyball numbers, it seems to be Table 1 broken down by boys/girls. Since these sports have no boy/girl to breakdown, the totals shown are the same on both charts.

A Voice of Reason

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

The Skyline Athletic Director had the nerve to tell us this is "Lansing's fault" that our athletic budgets are cut. I have not respect for him and any other administrator that points the finger to Lansing which is like saying it is the Republican's fault. Someday..... someday our school district will take responsibility for our spending problem. 3 Million on Athletics? Really? We cut 7 teachers at Skyline and now have huge classes while we are spending 3 million on athletics? Coaches should be part time and not receive AAPS benefits. I like having teachers at coaches but again, the union has made this an extension of their pay and benefits vs. a separate deal. AAPS employées should not be blaming Lansing for anything. Here is your budget and live within it.

Nick Danger

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

spoken like a true republican


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Part of the reason teachers were cut at Skyline was to keep trimesters. Classes have been smaller at Skyline than at other schools in town.

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

"The Skyline Athletic Director had the nerve to tell us this is "Lansing's fault" that our athletic budgets are cut." You would be amazed (or maybe you wouldn't) by the sheer mass of emails and snail-mails that arrive at the inbox and mailbox of an educator that repeat that koolaid-induced mantra over and over and over.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

I'd like to see another column that reflects the number of students in each of these sports that earn athletic scholarships. I am just curious, does the enormous amount we spend on football earn large returns in future for these students? Which sport has the best scholarship returns? Other than academics and athletics what areas of extra curricular pursuit result scholarships for our students. ?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

The results are that students who might otherwise drop out of high school end up finishing and having something to look forward to every day. The cold, hard reality is that not all students are "A" students and carry 4.0 grade point averages. If getting a scholarship is a measure of what we should fund then we should just close down the school system because most students don't get scholarships academically or otherwise.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

So the logic[sic] is that we should only fund those sports that "generate" college scholarships for our high school athletes? Couldn't disagree more with the premise. High School sports are meant to provide much more than scholarship opportunities. One of the biggest is that of teamwork, camraderie, and the physical/mental training discipline to accomplish a task as a group--admittedly to compete in and win games. In the workplace it will be the individual's teamwork skills that will have some of the biggest impact on their economic success. There is a fulfilling sense of humanity in watching a team of young athletes come together and play for the simple joy of competition. Discounting the participation fees, high school sports provides that opportunity to all students. Secondly, athletic scholarship are actually fairly rare with only a handful of students, at best, in any high school receiving any scholarship interest. Furthermore, in todays, athletice climate scholarships are more often earned and awarded by virtue of the athlete's participation on AAU club teams, and various "showcase" camps/events scrutinized by college coaches --reference the basketball player, from Ypsi [Johnson?]getting recent recruiting cred from performance in off-season camps.

DJ Earl

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Athletic scholarships aren't the goal, and shouldn't be considered as a metric. Personal growth, and maturity, and life lessons are the benefits, regardless of what happens the fall after one graduates.