Comprehensive Plan for Athletic Department Presented at PVSD School Board Meeting
Matt Martinez, Pojoaque Valley Schools athletic director, presented a list of proposals to the PVSD school board Tuesday night that will hopefully enhance the athletic programs in the district.
The comprehensive plan includes random testing of athletes and a process for helping students that test positive for drugs or alcohol. Martinez said in the schools current drug policy, athletes tested positive for drugs are required, along with their parents, to sign a contract that stipulates a recovery process and therapy options before an athlete is allowed to resume competition.
The drug test, which is a saliva test, can reveal six different illegal drugs, excluding steroids. Martinez said the saliva test costs $6 and the test for steroids $25.
Stipends, or coaches’ salaries, were also on the agenda. Martinez said Pojoaque Valley is not competitive with area schools in terms of salaries offered coaches. He researched area schools and proposed a $6,500 stipend that would make Pojoaque Valley competitive with area schools.
“Our coaches get the same stipend year in and year out,” Martinez said. “A coach can work 30 years in our district and still earn just $4,000. Our stipend limitations make it more difficult to keep excellent coaches and recruit quality coaches.”
Adan Delgado, PVSD superintendent, said, “We’ve been recruiting coaches and a couple of real strong coaches kind of laughed at our stipend. Our stipend rate is a problem when it comes to recruiting quality coaches.”
Martinez addressed the high turnover rate for the Pojoaque High football program as an example of coaches who have left Pojoaque for higher salaries elsewhere.
Club sports were next up on the agenda. At the present time, Pojoaque Valley doesn’t offer wrestling, tennis, gold or swimming but that might change in the near future. A tennis club has found a volunteer coach and after two years at the club level the program will become a funded sport.
All club sports will not cost the district anything since all coaches are volunteers. “Parents and sponsors provide the money for the first two years,” Martinez said. “At the present time, we are sending out surveys to see what sports students are most interested in making a club sport.”
Next up for discussion was the use and misuse of athletic facilities. Martinez said the district allows various groups to use the gyms for free and they often leave the facilities in disarray because the district doesn’t have an employee on sight to monitor the cleanup activities.
Board members agreed supervision is needed and they will also discuss the possibility of charging fees to use the facilities.
The Youth League Programs were next up for discussion.
Martinez said there are many kids in the youth league programs that do not attend Pojoaque Valley Schools. In the current system, there’s no procedure for insuring Pojoaque Valley students are selected before out of district students.
Another youth league proposal was a lottery system to insure the good players aren’t all on one team that dominates. “A lottery system seems like a got idea,” school board member Fernando Quintana said, “ because it would keep teams from loading up on talent.”
Joey Trujillo, Elks head basketball coach, said the program has grown over the past 20 years and it needs to be revised to accommodate kids in the district first.
A controversial issue over the past few has been eighth-grade eligibility. Since there is currently no written policy, Martinez proposed guidelines that would add consistency to the program and eliminate favoritism.
The proposed guidelines would require 8th grade athletes to participate at the middle school level before they became eligible for high school competition. Martinez proposed a middle school athlete play the first five games-in volleyball and basketball-at the middle school level before they can be considered for high school ball. In another example, he said middle school track and cross country athletes would have to run in at least one meet before being considered for the higher level.
“Theirs is no state wide policy for middle school students participating in high school athletics,” Martinez said. “For example, the Albuquerque School District doesn’t allow 8th graders to participate in high school programs, while Rio Rancho does allow 8th graders to be considered for high school competition.”
School board president Sharon Dogruel thanked Martinez for his work in drawing up the proposals and assured him that his ideas would be taken into consideration. She indicated the proposals seem to provide more options for students while assuring the athletic program is administered in an equitable manner.