Across the country, school districts are having to come up with original solutions to budgetary problems. In some cases, cities and regions have practically raised a white flag over trying to save funding for school sports, anticipating severe cutbacks.
That's not the case in McKinney, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the McKinney School District is still having to take particularly unique measures to try and close an anticipated significant budget shortfall. Among them is a new initiative that will force coaches to drive their teams' school buses.
Thats right, all coaches in the McKinney School District -- including McKinney (Texas) Boyd High football coach and athletic director Don Drake, who is pictured at right, will now have to drive their own teams to games and other road trips. While the practice of a coach driving the bus may have occurred on a piecemeal basis in other areas in the past, the step of a school district mandating all coaches be responsible for driving is fairly unprecedented.
According to the Dallas Morning News, to accommodate the measure all coaches will have to undergo training on how to drive a bus, whether they want to or not. If they don't complete the training, in theory, they won't be allowed to coach.
The coaches won't be doing the driving for free; the Morning News reported that any coach transporting his or her team will receive a $40 stipend for each game they drive to. Still, it adds a significant distraction -- not to mention a liability -- for any coach who might otherwise be game-planning for an impending matchup.
While one might assume that McKinney coaches would be non-plussed about the new transportation arrangements, at least one coach was more than open to the move, even exuding a level of excitement when mentioning the stipend he is scheduled to receive.
"I'm kind of old school," McKinney (Texas) High assistant girls basketball coach Herschel Taylor told the Morning News. "Old school is whatever they ask you do it.
"When they paid you to drive I thought it was like gravy."
Whether Taylor's peers will be as excited about the prospect of trucking their players in school buses with old gear shifts is up for debate. Either way, it will provide them with "on the job training" for a potential second career if the district has to make further cutbacks to school sports in following years. That, at the very least, is never a bad thing.