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CHSAA Legislative Council passes plan to increase officials' pay

Plan will result in about a 48% total increase in three years
A referee raises the hand of Ignacio's Lorenzo Peña during the 2017 Butch Melton Invitational at IHS. (Herald file photo)

At the first of two 2023 Legislative Council meetings held Tuesday, a plan to address the pay structure for high school game officials in Colorado was enacted by a majority vote from the Legislative Council.

In addition to addressing Colorado’s need to improve officials’ pay, the effort is also a way to help address the shortage in game officials across all sports.

The proposal is a three-year, gradual increase structure beginning in 2023-24.

“The passing of this new pay structure is a great way for CHSAA member schools to send an inherent message to game officials that we value them as partners in our mission to provide quality athletic and activity programs for our student-athletes across the State of Colorado,” CHSAA Commissioner Michael Krueger stated. “This is a substantial commitment from our schools, and they deserve all the credit. It is a commitment that does not come without serious financial challenges; however, the membership recognized the need and made it a priority.”

The increases over the next three years will ultimately result in about a 48% total increase in pay to officials by year three. Officials at a varsity basketball game, for example, will receive $85 in 2023-24, $90 in 2024-25 and $95 in 2025-26.

To help schools handle the increased budget demands and get officials pay in each sport where it needs to be, there will be gradual annual increase across all sports, ranging from 40 to 60 % per sport.

The largest increases over the three-year period are front-loaded in year one for immediate impact and to support the more equitable and competitive range. The first-year increases amount to right around 33% of the total three-year increase.

New statewide mileage payments have also been approved. There will be an increase from $0.40 per mile to $0.50 per mile in 2023-2024 for travel more than 20 miles one way, $0.55 per mile in 2024-2025, and $0.60 per mile in 2025-2026.

In the Denver/Colorado Springs metro areas, schools will pay a $10 travel stipend. The mileage travel stipend is paid to an official for one or more assignments per day at a school for all levels. This stipend was approved at the 2019 Legislative Council meeting.

“This structure, along with the ‘You Look Good in Stripes’ campaign, is a step in the right direction to relieve some of the workload burden on our current official’s and getting back to schools playing on coveted nights,” Mike Book said