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Fundraising Rules Coming to Watchung Hills Regional

Complaints about lax fundraising rules for clubs and sports teams leading to new policy.

The is working to enact stricter controls on fundraising for clubs and teams in response to concerns students are being coerced to particpate in fundraising projects or make mandatory donations to booster clubs.

"There are some troubling issues and we want to make sure, first and foremost, that no child is required to raise money," board President Robert Horowitz said at Monday's meeting.

To make certain that doesn't happen, the board is developing a policy that will establish guidelines for fundraising and expenditures from fundraising activities done by booster groups for clubs and sports teams. Horowitz said the various groups raising money for Watchung Hills Regional student activities have raised nearly $1 million over the last seven years.

Board Vice-president Harold Grossnickle, who is heading the committee working on writing the policy, said the policy will include that fundraising plans be approved by school administrators, and include pre-approved plans for spending any money collected.

Furthermore, the policy will separate coaches from any fundraising by booster clubs, with a code of conduct set for school staff members and club members to follow.

"What this is about is to make sure that money...is properly raised...and is properly accounted for and properly spent," Horowitz said.

The policy is also expected to state that participation in any fundraising is voluntary and no mandatory family contributions can be set, something Gillette parent Tania Nahorniak said she encountered in prior years when her son was on the baseball team.

Nahorniak recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Echoes-Sentinel charging the administration was giving coaches "carte blanche in supervising these teams." At the meeting, she noted one team required each of the 75 players in the program to raise $500, for a total of $37,500.

"My question is, can we get a full disclosure of where the money is going?" she asked.

Horowitz responded by suggesting she—or any other parent with infomation on mandatory fundraising issues—speak to Superintendent of School Frances Stromsland.

"The board's aware and the board has already acted," Grossnickle said. 

Jerry Mathers April 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM
So, let me guess this straight, one disgruntled parent of a kid with a bad attitude writes an editorial or two to the local paper and then draconian rules are placed on every booster club in the school. I, and my family, have been involved in WHRHS sports for many years and we have never encountered any forced donations or unreasonable spending of funds raised. I have personally seen many cases where families with financial difficulties were waived from laying any money out upfront or otherwise. I also think that in cases where students are "required" to engage in fundraising activities they benefit greatly from the team-building aspect of the activity. Note that there are always kids who don't do the fundraising and I have never seen any of them penalized in any way for it. The board should focus on education of students and leave the sports teams and their booster clubs alone. Thank you!
Susan M. April 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Just because someone comes out against the status quo doesn't diminish their legitimacy. In many ways, it takes someone who has courage enough to open their mouths against the "way things have always been done" for others to realize that change is needed. I don't agree with leaving any WHRHS sports team or booster club alone. The sports teams are directly administered by the high school and report to the athletic director. Any indication of impropriety, no matter how small or insignificant, directly reflects on the school and could have repercussions on the administration, students and districts that fund the school. High schools deal with much more than education and have been for a very long time.
Jerry M April 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM
There are ways to do things and ways not to do things Maryse. I am referring to the method that this woman used and the accusatory language that she used. She should have used her "courage" to approach the AD, principal, and /or superintendent if she had an issue with the performance of a school employee. Instead, she attacked coaches, parents, and others in the press. I believe in change for the greater good, but not more oversight where none is needed. I guess that you are not a libertarian. Keep in mind that the booster clubs are not employees of or directly controlled by the school system nor should they be. If the schools provided the necessary funding for all after school programs, none of this would be necessary.

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