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Author Topic: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?  (Read 3867 times)

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Offline PhysicsOnIce

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How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« on: April 15, 2015, 03:10:52 AM »
I Think this topic came up a while ago, but I can't find the thread. If need be please re-direct the topic.

Our club is having difficulties managing ice time and coaches fees. We are running into a situation where the coaches are not getting paid what they should be and we are not getting the coaching time we need.  Currently, we pay a large club fee  (425 Euros)  at the beginning of the season that covers four days of ice time during the whole seasons on top of that we are currently paying 13 Euros per session to cover coaches fees. However, this means that we are paying for coaching which sometimes we don't receive. 

How does your club deal with Membership, Ice Time and Coaches Fees?

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Offline Bunny Hop

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 06:41:28 AM »
Different countries and even different rinks have many ways of dealing with this.

We pay the rink for a season pass that gets us into any session. I currently get a quarterly pass, but you can also get 10 session, half yearly and annual (you can also just pay for each session individually). That takes care of ice time. We do individual lessons, and pay the coach cash at the end of each lesson. The coaches pay fees to the rink. There is no club ice time (although there is a club), just sessions run/timetabled by the rink.

At the rink we skated at in the UK, you paid for the session (ice time) on entry, and also paid for lessons at the same time. We'd then put the ticket (receipt) for the lesson in a plastic envelope with the coach's name on it, which was also kept at reception. The rink then paid the coach their percentage for the lesson, and the rink kept the rest.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 09:55:45 AM »
While our rinks in the UK run similar to the ones in the US, synchro seems to be set up on the same club basis that you're describing.
The club calculates based on the number of skaters how much to charge for the synchro sessions to cover ice time and coaching fees (along with competition dresses). The problem is that numbers aren't static. It's OK while we're recruiting more skaters as then there's more money coming in, however when we start to lose skaters the books don't necessarily balance. And they run this situation where they don't want to build up a bank balance (beyond the cost of dresses) but equally they don't want to run at a loss.

It sounds like your club either hasn't calculated the costs correctly or is having a problem with numbers of skaters (and possibly is labelling your session fee as coaching when it's just going into the general kitty). Is the problem with coaching that they don't have enough coaches for everyone or that there aren't enough skaters paying for the season (and possibly not skating too often) to cover the costs?

Offline mamabear

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 11:04:23 AM »
We have a club and pay membership fees but there is no club ice time.

You can buy a pass for public sessions or pay for each public session individually.

You can also buy a punchcard for figure skating times, an unlimited pass or pay for each session individually.

We pay for lessons at a front desk and then I assume the coaches get their portion of that at a designated time.

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 12:05:20 PM »
It depends on the club and the type of session but we either pay for individual ice sessions or for a season at set times, then we pay the coaches directly.

Offline lutefisk

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 12:19:55 PM »
We have a USFSA club which used to have club ice once a week.  At the beginning of this current dues year, the club decided to drop club ice and also drop the cost of annual dues. 

Our rink also has an ISI team.  Team members get a one dollar discount off the price of Free Style sessions.  However, if one buys a 10 session FS card, (don't need to be a team member to buy one), the price per session is actually cheaper than with the team discount!  The main reason to maintain dues status with either the club or the team is for testing and competition purposes.

As for coaches, we pay them directly by check or cash.  I have no idea how much, if anything, the rink requires from them.  Our rink is city owned.

Offline Query

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 12:35:24 PM »
In my part of the U.S., clubs and rinks are able to make their own decisions on many things, including this. So your club is free to make logical decisions on such matters. But maybe a coach or student could become annoyed if policy changed mid-season, after they paid membership fees, or dealt with insurance? Though if your club is losing a lot of money, you may have no choice.

Many of our local clubs (and rinks) here don't charge coaches to teach. The basic idea is that coaches attract students, which means more customers. (Clubs and rinks do vary on whether they have to approve coaches, and how strict their standards are if they do. Clubs also differ on whether the coach has to join something, or be placed on a rink insurance policy.)

A lot of coaches prefer such clubs and rinks (for club and rink run sessions, respectively). They often charge more during club and rink sessions where they have to pay a fee - and they tell their students that, which tends to make students take their lessons at places that don't charge. And coaches tell each other which clubs and rinks do what. Rinks that don't charge a coaching fee, and/or that don't select coaches, sometimes advertise to coaches (I'm not sure how) that they have an "open pro" policy, which attracts both local and visiting coaches.

So, where there is competition to provide ice time, within an hour or a little more's drive, I think fees paid by coaches, as well as fees paid to the rink or club when taking a lesson from a coach, are mostly a bad idea, from the club or rink's point of view.

(But, from a selfish figure skater's point, I wish rinks would charge people a lot to have hockey lessons, especially if the lesson puts a puck on the ice, because hockey lessons interfere a lot with figure skating.  :)  Fortunately, most rinks around here don't allow pucks on the ice during public and freestyle sessions, but at least two do.)

There is another type of coach fee that you might be talking about: fees paid to coaches to teach. A few clubs and (for certain types of session) some rinks pay one or more coaches a fee to teach a group lesson to the club during the session. I don't think these types of paid-to-coach fee are very common, but one club I used to attend used to do this during club sessions, and at least one rink I've used teaches classes like "edges" or "power skating" during certain freestyle sessions.

Then the cost of that lesson is effectively folded into the cost of the session. I'm not sure how they manage what is paid to the coaches vs how many people come to the session. As with any group lesson program, it probably varies club to club and rink-to-rink as to whether coaches are paid a per-hour fee, a per-attendant fee, or a per-student fee.


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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 10:00:53 PM »
My rink is similar to lutefisk 's - pay by session, and pay coach directly. They do have a freestyle punch card and I think an option by season that isn't really advertised. They have a public session season pass as well. My rink is also run by the park district.

I know what thread you're thinking of, so I will try to find it!!
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Offline littlerain

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Offline amy1984

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 12:24:18 AM »
Where I skate, I've always been billed after the fact.  Coaches vary on timing - I had one that only billed a couple times a season, one every two weeks, and my current coach is great with getting a bill out at the end of each month.  I've also heard of pre-paying or punch cards.  The club handles zero of our coaching dollars.  I think this works best because we get what we pay for, or we don't get what we don't pay for.  There is no middle man.  Rules are clear.  And if we don't like it, we are free to hire someone else.  Obviously, this works different for synchro or group lessons.

edit: we also only pay for the ice we use.  We purchase a session for the year (a certain day and time) and can pick and choose what we want or use another club's ice if that works better.  Or use punch cards.

Offline PhysicsOnIce

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2015, 02:23:06 AM »
Is the problem with coaching that they don't have enough coaches for everyone or that there aren't enough skaters paying for the season (and possibly not skating too often) to cover the costs?
Neither actually.
We are a new club, so the club administration is not fully solidified despite that the coaching staff is great. I also get the feeling that the club administration doesn't really know what they are doing and they are afraid of losing skaters to other clubs.

We have four club coaches which run the club sessions. Previously, we just paid out annual fee for ice time and then paid for private or semi-private lessons based on the coaches standard price (~40€/ hr) on club ice. However, because we might have two or three coaches on the ice at the same time this meant that for a two hour session, if you had only two or three skaters, we were paying two hours of private lessons. While other times you had the other extreme one coach and 12 competitive skaters, which resulted in very dense group and short lessons based on level. Some parents started complaining that that system was not working and that their bills were too high.  The club  introduced a doodle system in order to track who was coming to the sessions and to have a coach number that was appropriate for that number of kids. However, People did not follow the doodle and would just show up randomly, which meant more students for the coaches than expected or the other extreme too few students for what the coach expected. People then started complaining that the bills were still too high, and the club introduced the 13€ per session coaching fee, but that meant that we were paying for being on the ice despite that sometimes we were not getting coaching at all.

I remember in my days of skating in the U.S. we had punchcards for freestyle (club ice) and punchcards for group classes, and if we wanted privates we organized it directly with the coach(es) we wanted. I'm also going to be attending an administration meeting soon so I#m trying to figure out things that work, which give people the choice to be flexible with their bills but also fair to the skaters and the coaches.
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Offline fsk8r

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2015, 06:05:13 AM »
Loops can probably give you better advice than most of us, as I'm sure the French group system is closer to the Belgian system than the UK or US is.

Sounds like the issue is really down to people expecting to be able to skate when they want to and get coaching whenever they show up.
If the club is wanting to keep to the European model of group coaching when on the ice (based on level) then perhaps they need to segregate the ice time? So that if you're at this standard you can only skate on these sessions, and another standard you get different sessions. Or that coaching is only provided for that level at that session, but you can go to any others, but you won't receive coaching?

What do other local clubs in your area do?

Offline PinkLaces

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 09:36:41 AM »
Loops can probably give you better advice than most of us, as I'm sure the French group system is closer to the Belgian system than the UK or US is.

Sounds like the issue is really down to people expecting to be able to skate when they want to and get coaching whenever they show up.
If the club is wanting to keep to the European model of group coaching when on the ice (based on level) then perhaps they need to segregate the ice time? So that if you're at this standard you can only skate on these sessions, and another standard you get different sessions. Or that coaching is only provided for that level at that session, but you can go to any others, but you won't receive coaching?

What do other local clubs in your area do?

That seems like a good solution to your problem - group coaching at certain levels on certain days/times.  While our club does a system where you pay for each ice session and each lesson directly to the rink or coach, we do have issues like that in our adult group class. Lots of levels and 2 coaches. Depends on who show up as to how much lesson time you get.

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How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2015, 12:38:18 PM »
I agree, and it seems that if this is explained to parents so they understand the reasoning behind it, they would be willing to bring their kids at the right time. The suggestion is very reasonable!
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Offline Loops

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 04:06:24 AM »
I'm not really sure what I can add to this discussion, since I'm still feeling out the details of how things work.  The adults are very much shafted at my club.  We pay the same fee structure as everyone else, but only get one hour of ice time/week (that supports levels from pre-pre to pre-silver), most of the adults compete solo, too.  Other levels get at least 2, and probably 3 hours/week.  In synchro we get one hour less coaching/ 2 weeks since we don't have any off-ice practice.  Lordy we need it, too.  We've been complaining.  Adults can buy more ice time, but the choice of sessions is limited.  So there are definitely issues chez moi as well.

But here's how it's set up.  Note, this is for the serious recreational skaters who've moved beyond the LTS equivalent to what I'd call freestyle/dance sessions.  The fee structure for LTS is different, I think as it is for the Division 1 ("elite") skaters.

We have three coaches on salary by the club and a fourth who is a substitute.  She's paid by the club too, but I suspect differently as she's not full time.  There are always at least 2 coaches, at least for the adults.  There might be all three for the other levels (certainly for LTS) but I don't see so I can't comment.  Synchro has one coach/team.

I pay two fees each year, one is called "cotisation statuaire", which I suppose is for membership/ice access, then I pay a second cotisation "disciplinaire" which I guess is for coaching.  These two costs are the same for all levels.  Then, we have a meeting at the beginning of the year, and synchro skaters are hit up for a "donation".  I think it's called that for tax purposes, so the skaters can get a tax reduction; it's a mandatory fee or you don't skate.  This covers our and the coach's competition fees (hotels, transport, entrance fee and most meals on the road), dresses and/or accessories for hair and make up.

On the ice, this manifests as such:  all the skaters are restricted to their level sections (except the adults, as I've mentioned above).  Most of the levels have at least two on ice trainings/week, possibly more.  Everyone, including the adult LTS skaters, can participate in off ice physical training 1hr/week.  Synchro teams all have two hours on ice/week (never alone, there's always at least 2 teams, or 1 team/ 1 group sharing the slab).  Coaching is done as a group.  On the level sections it is a real group lesson.  They all run the same dance (or two dances.....there are 2 levels/group eg pre-bronze and bronze....we really don't have enough ice time as you can see), then they'll all work on moves or spins or something together with the coaches helping everybody.  Some do get more attention than others on a given day, but it seems that everybody gets attention.  On the adult session were there are so many levels, I usually get a private for my dances (but its a personality thing with the substitute coach- I'm the most advanced skater on the session, very serious, and work, some of the others kind of froof around so when she's there she grabs me), while the other coach takes pretty much the rest of the skaters and does moves with the pre-pre and I dance patterns with the prelim and pre-bronze skaters.  When they do moves or spins it's all of us together.  For me it works, but I have that coach thang going on.  I suspect some of the other adults wish they got more attention.  Those that really need it though, do get it, every week.

The drawback of the system for me is that I don't get enough solo ice time, and what I could buy would be either on the same day I already skate, or the following day, so it's all clumped together.  But I think overall it works.  If I can compete solo next year, I'll pick up another session, but then it'll be 3 hours one day on the ice, and nothing for the rest of the week outside synchro practice.  It's not perfect, but we need a second slab so we make do with what we can get from Hockey.  I pay so much less here than my parents did in the US that I have zero complaints about the fee structure.  Well, except the unfairness of the ice time allotment regarding the adults.

Ok, I wrote this quickly because I'm off for a competition today!!!!  I hope this makes sense.  If you find this interesting and want clarification let me know.

Physics you have a compet this weekend too.  GOOD LUCK!!!!!  Skate with your heart first and everything will fall into place.  You'll be awesome.

Offline PhysicsOnIce

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2015, 04:20:23 AM »
Good Luck loops!! I'll send you a private message about your club structure.

It really seems that the successful clubs have session split by skills. That's really interesting because we don't.  I'm definitively going to propose that at our next meeting as well as certain other changes you guys have mentioned. Thanks so much.  We for example have people working on double-double combos and double axels on the same ice with 5 year old children. This is actually one of my biggest concern.
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Offline Query

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2015, 02:35:44 PM »
So let me understand:

You have a group lesson for skaters doing many different things, in which the coach plays round-robin, coming around to each skater in turn?

I took a set of Adult group skating lessons like that. It worked well when there were up to about 3, maybe 4, in the class. But as more were added (the figure skating director combined our mostly intermediate level class with a more beginning level class), the coach couldn't remember everyone's details well, and there wasn't enough individual attention.

I once took kayak lessons once that worked that way, with more people. It worked fairly well because we all lined up to cross the same river feature (a hole) in the same spot, and because the coach was an incredibly well organized group lesson teacher.

-------------

It's an interesting system, compared to the usual system in the U.S., where you usually have group lesson teachers teaching everyone at once, or private lesson teachers devoting a block of at least 30 minutes to each student.

Ignoring the economic issues, how well does it work as a teaching method?

Being a serious skater/coach, by American standards, you surely merit private lessons - if they have those in France?

I guess you would feel uncomfortable suggesting the American model? "Cultural Imperialism" and all that?


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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2015, 05:34:42 PM »
Query, I'll explain more on Monday when I'm back at my computer. US system wouldn't fly here. There are no independent coaches. System works ok, it's just different.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2015, 11:14:28 PM »
-------------

It's an interesting system, compared to the usual system in the U.S., where you usually have group lesson teachers teaching everyone at once, or private lesson teachers devoting a block of at least 30 minutes to each student.

Ignoring the economic issues, how well does it work as a teaching method?

Being a serious skater/coach, by American standards, you surely merit private lessons - if they have those in France?

I guess you would feel uncomfortable suggesting the American model? "Cultural Imperialism" and all that?

The group model seems to work very well. Just look at the Russian ladies and then compare to how the American ladies are doing.

Offline PhysicsOnIce

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2015, 01:52:17 AM »
So let me understand:

You have a group lesson for skaters doing many different things, in which the coach plays round-robin, coming around to each skater in turn?

-------------

It's an interesting system, compared to the usual system in the U.S., where you usually have group lesson teachers teaching everyone at once, or private lesson teachers devoting a block of at least 30 minutes to each student.

Ignoring the economic issues, how well does it work as a teaching method?

Being a serious skater/coach, by American standards, you surely merit private lessons - if they have those in France?

I guess you would feel uncomfortable suggesting the American model? "Cultural Imperialism" and all that?

Essentially yes. We try to divide the groups into levels, but sometimes there is just not enough coaches on the ice for this to work. In part that is because people come in when they want to and without prior indication. Some coaches are better than others at dividing their attention and keeping track of what's going on, but others are just simply chaotic.

Personally, having skated in the US, I find that gives the best results. A 30 minute private lesson can teach you so much more than a 30 minute group lesson even if there are only two students, and while we do sometime get private lessons (In Belgium) this is not the standard. Why? I don't know.

Maybe it is the idea of a coaching team? We work under the idea that no student should be getting consistently private lessons from the same coach. Personally, I HATE IT! There are some coaches I don't really click with while others I click much better and feel they can explain things to me much more detailed.  I think that it is much more important to get consistent corrections.

I'm going to try to propose the American model our next meeting, but the problem is ice time. Our rinks are not open from 8 to 8 or anywhere near that, there is not the demand for it. So it is really a change of mentality that needs to occur. Ice time is not that expensive (65€-85€ per hour ) to rent the whole rink. So, I really do think it is just that people are not aware of how things work outside of Europe. If I understand Loops correctly, there are major differences between the French system and the Beglium system as well.

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2015, 03:28:32 PM »
Is it at all possible to get the rink to open longer by buying more ice time? I mean, your club can supply the demand, right? Hehe. I would think that a few club fundraisers or a raise in club fees could help that, given that members see an improvement
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Offline Query

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2015, 07:27:55 PM »
I look forwards to a fuller explanation of how it works.

The group model seems to work very well. Just look at the Russian ladies and then compare to how the American ladies are doing.

But is that actually the way the top Russian ladies learn?

Anyway, maybe it's those Viking (descended) genes.



Offline fsk8r

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2015, 01:30:36 AM »
I look forwards to a fuller explanation of how it works.

But is that actually the way the top Russian ladies learn?

Anyway, maybe it's those Viking (descended) genes.

Most Russians aren't descended from the Vikings. They based themselves around the North Sea.

But the group coaching is my understanding of how the Russians learn. It's used so there's always a competitive environment to strive to be the best (top of the class). They have some individual attention to work on programs but the majority of learning is done in the group environment.

Offline PhysicsOnIce

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2015, 03:42:42 AM »
But the group coaching is my understanding of how the Russians learn. It's used so there's always a competitive environment to strive to be the best (top of the class). They have some individual attention to work on programs but the majority of learning is done in the group environment.

The difference here is that the Russians are very strictly split into groups based on skill level for their classes and for the ice time they get. We on the other hand are not. Which means some coaches are actually baby-sitting 5 year olds so that accidents don't occur, however you can't really do that all the time and expect your club to improve.
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Offline Loops

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Re: How do your club deal with Ice Time and Coaches Fees?
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2015, 02:23:37 AM »
The difference here is that the Russians are very strictly split into groups based on skill level for their classes and for the ice time they get. We on the other hand are not. Which means some coaches are actually baby-sitting 5 year olds so that accidents don't occur, however you can't really do that all the time and expect your club to improve.

This is the key and it's not kosher.  I wonder why they set it up that way.  But you're very right that things need to change, if for no other reason than a very bad accident can, and eventually will occur.

How is the Belgian system different from the French system?  I'm curious.  But even if you can't get them to institute the US style of private lessons (do you have enough coaches so that all the skaters wanting them can get them?  Or will one or two wealthy skaters dominate the coaches' time, if it becomes a financial-based competition for lessons?).  I think at the very least you need to get the club to lay down the law in terms of ice time and attendance.  If it comes to it, there are no make ups.  If you miss, you miss and you can not jump onto a different level's session (that's how my club works).  The parents and skaters will hate it (at first) because they lose some freedom and flexibility, and everyone's going to complain about when their sessions are, but too bad, so sad, safety first.  Scheduling needs to be sensitive to the skater's needs, but also there is only so much ice time.  Once it's in place for a couple of seasons, people will adjust.  You have an uphill battle ahead of you, but I think it's one that needs to be fought.  You can't have 5 year olds, or even older pre-pre level skaters on the same ice as those even learning high level singles, let alone doing double + combinations.