With approximately 50 different clubs for everything from K-pop to magic to tiddlywinks, IHS offers one of the most comprehensive student activities programs in the state. Unfortunately, this great variety of clubs comes at a price and ICSD’s funds dedicated to clubs at IHS are being stretched thin.
Currently, most clubs at IHS receive $400 per year as an advisor stipend paid by the district. This sum is the only monetary compensation that club advisors receive for their efforts, though clubs can earn their own money through internal fundraisers.
For clubs that meet for an hour a week over approximately thirty weeks, the stipend of $400 amounts to a wage of about $13 per hour for the advisor. However, many advisors end up spending the $400 on club expenses; moreover, many advisors dedicate far more than thirty hours to their clubs.
Mr. Soucy, the current advisor of the Mock Trial club, noted that the stipend does not vary depending on the amount of time advisors spend working with each club. “I’ve advised clubs where I really only do one hour of work per week, and then I also advise a club like Mock Trial, where some weeks are one hour and some weeks are more like six or seven. It would be great if we had a system that took the time into account rather than just a flat advisor stipend,” he said.
Although $400 may seem like a small amount, it is significantly larger than the stipend of $281 that clubs received last year. The stipend will be $408 next year and $416 the following year. The Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) was instrumental in negotiating these increases with ICSD.
Some of the largest clubs at IHS operate on a different system, in large part because of the travel and extra hours that they involve. These clubs, which include Brain Team, Model UN, and Code Red Robotics, have separate district resources to pay advisors outside of their normal hours. The advisors of these clubs receive $26 an hour up to approximately 150 hours. They also have access to additional resources and are receiving more district support than they have in past years.
Karl Mellander, the director of student activities at IHS, emphasizes that it may be difficult for the district to allot even more money to clubs. “Negotiation is complicated because we have such a huge array [of clubs]. To get a significant raise, we’d have to have fewer clubs,” he said.
Mr. Mellander also noted that ICSD has been extremely supportive of the addition of new clubs, explaining that he can put in requests for the formation of ten to fifteen new clubs each year without any problems. Still, according to Mr. Mellander, “It’s hard for staff members to actively engage with a lower stipend than they deserve.”
For now, it looks like the diversity of IHS’s clubs is here to stay, but advisors will have to wait for more significant raises.