Hilliard Northwest News

District: Athletics department shakeup saves $500K per year


Hilliard schools officials say the district will save at least $500,000 annually after they restructured supervision of the athletics programs at the high school and middle school levels and initiated a contract for training services.

"In addition to saving the district at least $500,000, we think these changes will also improve the efficiency and competitiveness of our athletic programs," said Assistant Superintendent Tim Hamilton.

School board members last week created a unified staff for grades seven to 12 at each of the three high school and middle schools in the district.

Currently, the district has an athletics director and assistant director at two of its three high schools and an athletics coordinator at each of its three middle schools, for a total of eight personnel. Bradley High School has no current assistant director.

Next year, the assistant director positions will be eliminated. One athletics director and one athletics coordinator will work together to oversee sports for grades seven to 12 at each high school and middle school, for a total of six personnel.

The unification became possible with the opening of Bradley in August 2009, district officials said. The third high school allowed the district to pair each high school with a feeder middle school.

Bradley's Nick Gaston, Darby's Chad Schulte and Davidson's Mark Princehorn all will stay on as athletics directors at their respective high schools next year, but each also will be in charge of a corresponding middle school.

Gaston will oversee Memorial Middle School, Schulte Heritage Middle School and Princehorn Weaver Middle School.

Gaston will be paired with Eric Ryan, a teacher at Memorial who will be new to the athletics staff.

Schulte will be paired with Chris Ludwen, who was assistant athletics director at Darby.

Princehorn will be paired with Angelo Forte, who was assistant athletics director at Davidson.

All three middle school coordinators will leave the athletics department after this year.

Memorial's Becky Grimes and Weaver's Jim Dougherty will retire and Heritage's Billy Martin will return to the classroom as a full-time English teacher.

District officials said the personnel changes will save about $350,000 per year.

The other $150,000 of projected savings is expected from a new contract with OhioHealth for training services.

In addition to reducing the number of athletic department staffers, the board also adopted a change for contracting with OhioHealth to provide athletic training services to the district's three high schools.

Bradley High School has utilized OhioHealth services since its opening, but Darby and Davidson contracted in-house trainers.

Both schools' trainers are licensed to teach and will return to classrooms as full-time teachers next year, Hamilton said.

Beginning next year, OhioHealth will provide 60 hours of weekly service, allocated on an as-needed basis, to the three high school and middle school programs.

The changes were implemented in response to the findings of an Athletic Sustainability Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, administrators, coaches and parents.

The committee included more than 150 people and began meeting in June 2011, reporting its final recommendations to the school board earlier this year.