August 23rd, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Sports, Schools

New Problems for Lincoln High's Football Team; Principal Needs $30,000 to Keep Coach

Lincoln High School's principal Peyton Chapman is scrambling to raise $30,000 so the school can keep its new varsity football coach, who has already started leading practices.

Mike Fanger, a former head football coach at Lewis & Clark College who came to Lincoln from La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Milwaukie, was hired this winter. Fanger replaces the interim Lincoln football coaches, who last fall took over from former varsity coach Chad Carlson at the southwest Portland high school. The school district fired Carlson in September 2009 amid a media frenzy after The Oregonian reported on an incident between Carlson and Portland Police on a MAX platform.

To keep Fanger at Lincoln, Chapman is turning to private money to fund a position for Fanger in Lincoln's physical-education department--a move that speaks to the Lincoln community's incredible wealth in a district that is increasingly cash-strapped.

Severe budget cuts at Portland Public Schools once threatened to eliminate all physical education classes from kindergarten through the eighth grade in the upcoming school year that starts Sept. 7. But public outcry about that proposal forced the school district to shift the cuts. A last-minute infusion of federal dollars staved off deeper downsizing. (But the district's music programs weren't spared from the reductions. Six music teachers, including Grant High School's popular choral director, lost their jobs with the district this month. The situation with PE in the district is different. Currently, none of the district's PE teachers is without an assignment for the 2010-2011 school year, says Matt Shelby, a district spokesman. That means Fanger, if hired permanently, would not replace another PE teacher already with the district.)

In an email Friday to Lincoln's athletic director, Jeff Peeler, an officer of the high school's parent-led Booster Club and another parent with the school's well funded foundation, Chapman wrote that the human resources department at PPS had given her the green light to hire the football coach as a full-time PE teacher. "This is nothing short of a small miracle," Chapman wrote.

But the move requires an immediate infusion of $30,000 in cash to supplement the money the high school's independent foundation has already donated to the school, according to Shelby. As a result, Chapman turned to the Booster Club for more donations last week. (The entire text of her email from Friday follows.)
From: Peyton Chapman
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:10 PM
Cc: Janet M. Schroer; Jeffrey Peeler
Subject: Foundation and FB Coach needs
Dear Sandy, Janet and Jeff,
I have been able to get HR to allow me to hire an additional full time PE/Head FB Coach. Given the recent layoffs in PE this is nothing short of a small miracle. Obviously we all want Coach Fanger. I do not have to post this position or interview other candidates at this time. I am thrilled to say the least. The problem is we need .3 additional FTE to make this work or approximately $30,000. This money would allow us to have a total of 3.5 FTE in PE and support an excellent FB program. To be honest we really need 4.0 FTE which would take an additional $70,000.
I am hoping that the Football parents and Booster parents can help Sandy and the Foundation Board reach out to all Football families for donations to the Foundation ASAP. The sooner we can get a commitment of $30,000 the sooner I can get an updated commitment letter from the Foundation to get HR to call Coach Fanger and offer him the job officially. I know he needs that call to fully and officially commit to our team and school.
Please let me know if this is a realistic possibility as soon as possible. Jeff, if you can think of any other options please let me know. I am so excited to be able to hire Coach Fanger and I can hardly wait to make this happen.

Chapman does not have to promote the job opening or interview other teachers in the district who may be qualified for two reasons, says PPS's spokesman, Matt Shelby. The school year starts in just two weeks. Also, there are no other PE teachers waiting for assignments, according to PPS. "She followed protocol," Shelby says.

An emergency meeting of the Booster Club's board of directors has been set for tonight, according to an email from an officer with the group:
Hello Booster Board,
I hate to disturb your summer, but we have run across a major problem with securing funding for the new football coach at Lincoln high school. We need to have a quick emergency meeting Monday evening at 7 pm at the Lincoln field. I know this is very short notice, but the issue has a time frame that is equally short. Can you please respond and let me know if you can make the meeting, and I will follow up in the morning with more detail about the issue. My computer is giving me trouble, so forgive me if you get this message twice.

Janet M. Schroer

A third email from Schroer went to Pam Cavagnaro, a mother of a Lincoln player.
From: "Janet M. Schroer"
Date: August 20, 2010 4:22:55 PM PDT
To: "Pam Cavagnaro"
Subject: FW: Foundation and FB Coach needs

I believe you have the latest football email list. We need to get a message out quickly about the foundation's need in order to try to raise money. Can you forward it to everyone on your list?
Dear Football Community,
As you may or may not know, the budget cuts have wreaked havoc with Lincoln's plan to hire Football Coach Mike Fanger as a PE teacher, which needs to happen in order for him to be able to provide benefits and salary for his family to live on. He has worked long and hard for our boys, as have all of the assistant coaches, with the expectation that the job would come through as planned. Unfortunately, COACH FANGER DOES NOT YET HAVE A TEACHING JOB AT LINCOLN THRU NO FAULT OF HIS OR LINCOLN, DESPITE INCREDIBLE EFFORTS ON EVERYONE ON LINCOLN'S PART TO OPEN A SPOT FOR HIM. Peyton Chapman has been able to pull off a near miracle, as set out below, but she needs to have additional funds in order to actually hire. He has provided and clearly promises in the future to bring Lincoln great things in football. Please pull out whatever stops you may have to assist in securing funds in order to have Coach Fanger hired on the Lincoln Staff.

Photo of Peyton Chapman by Leah Nash.
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