Discussion continued on the topic of extra-curricular and co-curricular costs during the Monday night meeting of the River Bend Board of Education.
Members of school organizations attended the meeting and presented ideas for finding more funding for activities. At a meeting last week, it was stated that the extracurricular activities would cost the district $27,000. Athletic Booster Club member Roxanne Fish told the board that after discussion, the boosters have decided to donate $17,000 to the district to go toward the current fiscal year.
She said the boosters had just a few requests. One request was that other organizations help by donating as well. Fish said they also wanted to stop the use of faculty slush funds and have concession money go back to the athletic fund.
“If not for the boosters, we would have even more troubles,” Board President Dan Portz said.
Neal Luker, of Thespians, attended the meeting to speak about the possibility of the group giving funds to the district. He maintained that the Thespians have given back to the district by purchasing stage curtains, paying for lights and distributing other costs. He said the Thespians raise funds through the plays and support themselves. He said currently, the organization has $8,000 in their fund, but was planning to use that toward the purchase of a new curtain. Athletic booster members pointed out that if Thespians raise money through gate or ticket sales, like boosters, why should they not be expected to donate to the district like boosters have done.
Susan Daniels, coach for the scholastic team and speech team, said she has recently heard people ask why speech or scholastic pay an activity fee. She said the scholastic and speech teams do not get enough positive reinforcement. No fire engines sounded when the team went to state and won money from the Masonic meet this year, Daniels said.
“As Rodney Dangerfield said, ‘We don’t get no respect,’” Daniels said.
Daniels said the two teams do not cost much to the district. In fact, she said they bring in $1,700 or $1,800 each year from the tournament they host in December.
Superintendent Jane Bauer went over the various activity accounts with the board, looking for funds they could use. She said the American Field Service account of $2,416.02 could be closed as it is now obsolete. She also said the Close-Up account of $140.11 could be closed and its funds could go into the activities account.
The board also discussed using some of the concession funds. Bauer said Athletic Director Derek Germann recommended taking no more than $2,000 of the $11,830.25. Mae Stiles, who manages the activity accounts, said stocking concessions from July 1 to the end of August costs close to $5,000. Portz said he felt they could take more out of the fund. Stiles and Bauer pointed out they like to have extra in the account in case of emergency needs. With the current state of the district’s finances, Portz does not believe these accounts should have “rainy-day funds.”
“We can’t just sit on eggs that are there. When are we going to use it?” said Portz. He said he can understand leaving money alone if it is ear-marked for something, like the Thespians’ new curtains. Portz said that is different than an organization simply hoarding funds.
Stiles said she can understand using concession funds. She said her concern is what the students’ reaction will be after they worked for all of that money.
“The kids take a lot of pride in working for this stuff,” said Stiles.
Bauer said the good thing about taking from concessions is that at least no one group is being impacted more. She said everyone has worked for the funds.
The board approved closing the American Field Service and Close-Up accounts and transferring $5,500 from the concession accounts.
Bauer indicated that those approvals were only the beginning of budgeting for activities.