The amount of the coaching stipend Butch Goncharoff receives from the Bellevue Booster Club will have to be approved by the Bellevue School District if a proposed amendment is approved in April.
The amendment was approved by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Board last week after "overwhelming response" from member schools supporting action that would regulate booster-club involvement in the salary structure of high-school coaches, according to Mike Colbrese, WIAA executive director. It would have to be approved by the group's Representative Assembly.
Goncharoff, who led Bellevue to its fifth Class 3A state football championship in six years this month, receives $55,000 annually from the school's booster club in addition to the district's stipend of $5,753. Bellevue School District officials apparently were unaware of the additional pay until it was disclosed after an internal investigation last spring into the football program.
The district then asked the WIAA to consider possible limitations on booster clubs' abilities to offer coaches supplemental salaries. Surveys were sent to the 400-plus member schools. Of the 230 responding, Colbrese said about 80 percent favored an amendment that would regulate such expenditures.
"The overwhelming response was, 'Yes, we want a rule that would restrict support from booster clubs,' " he said.
The proposal drafted by the Executive Board states "all coaching stipends and gifts to coaches must be approved by the school's board of directors." It also dictates that outside groups "may contribute money to a school or a district to help offset the cost for such items as equipment, transportation and/or participation fees."
Colbrese said he expects the Representative Assembly, which comprises athletic directors, principals and superintendents, to approve the amendment at its annual meeting.
"If the membership is true to the response on the surveys, I would say it's going to pass," he said.
Bellevue School District administrators are reserving comment on the proposal.
"There seem to be varied opinions about the WIAA recommendation," said Ann Oxrieder, assistant to the superintendent. "As a district, we won't have a comment until the [school] board and superintendent have had a chance to talk."
Greg Bennett, president of the Bellevue Booster Club, also declined to discuss the situation other than to say, "It would be premature for me to comment until we study [the amendment]. I don't want to speculate."
He added, "We're going to do what is right for kids and what is right for the school. Everything we have done has been above-board and will continue to be. We will follow whatever guidelines that are appropriate."