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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

FTIS limits fund raising on travel to in-state, non-Northern Kentucky destinations

FTM file. 
Has fundraising for extracurricular activities become too much of a burden on students and parents? That's the question that was raised by a Fort Thomas Independent School Board member at the August meeting.

FTIS Board Member John Weyer pointed out the fundraising is about $200,000 for the Highlands sports teams. He expressed concerns about putting too much on the parents. Weyer's son, Justin, just graduated after playing basketball and football for Highlands.

Weyer said there are groups associated with the school district that attain all their funding from fundraising. Among those groups are the Highlands Athletic Boosters, the individual school Parent Teacher School Organization committees, the theatre supporters (SRO) and the Prom to Dawn Committee.

"These groups exist for the sole purpose of financially supplementing our school programs and supporting our kids," Weyer said. "Organizations that do not have the athletic event gate receipts or student fees to enhance their budgets. When each individual sport at HHS is also trying to fundraise for their specific program, the request for fundraising approvals triples."

Weyer and FTIS Superintendent Gene Kirchner agreed teams will always need to fund raise for out-of-town, overnight trips. But Weyer and other board members agreed money spent on equipment, banquets and athletic wear need to be controlled by the athletic deparment and the fundraising left to groups that depend on those donations.

"They shouldn't be fundraising to pay for busses," said Karen Allen, FTIS Board President. "They shouldn't be fundraising just to pad their budgets. Have a specific purpose and intent."

Board Member Brad Fennell has experience with children participating on the dance team. His daughter Macy did that while in high school.

"I think our goal for athletics should be state championships in everything," Fennell said. "We don't want to discourage that fundraising. I know from personal experience that dance is very expensive even with fundraising. But it's a life changing experience for these kids and worth every penny in my opinion."

Kirchner said an issue with fundraising is that there will be coaches that want to go above and beyond. He recently had a meeting with a coach who required $100,000 over a five to six-year period.

"At the end of the day, we didn't make any significant changes to our policy on team fundraising," Kirchner said. "We didn't want to discourage our coaches from working hard to improve their programs. However, we did commit to limiting the amount of fundraising that is necessary for our teams to travel to athletic events that are outside of Northern Kentucky, but still  in our region or state. In the past, there have been instances in which it was necessary for teams to raise the money for these types of trips. This does not include trips that are overnight or involve far away, out-of-state destinations. Teams will still need to fundraise in those instances."

One example of a team having to travel excessively came the last two seasons with the football team.

During the regular season, the Bluebirds traveled to John Hardin and Paducah Tilghman in 2013 and to Warren Central last year because local teams did not schedule them. But the longest trip this year will be to Scott County on Friday.

"The groups that fundraise the most are the ones that have parents that pay out of pocket the most," said Brian Robinson, Highlands High School Principal. "I don't know that there is a perfect solution for it."

One change mentioned at the special meeting was that the Sideline Club is now an internal club effective May 29. That means the club can't keep a separate checking account and the Board of Education has to approve items.

"It was the sidelines club's decision to become an internal club because they felt like the regulatory oversight was getting to be too much and at about the same time, there was a change in leadership," Robinson said. "The change allowed them to be more in line with what they wanted to do as a group, which was to support the football team and coach."

That leaves five external fundraising clubs. They are Standing Room Only (Theatre), Parent Teacher Student Organization, Athletic Boosters, Soccer Boosters and the Band Boosters.

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear...the band association has to fundraise for busses, moving vans, insurance, uniforms, instruments, outside instructors... the list goes on and on. Surely some of these things should come under the district's umbrella . And the band gets no money from the athletic boosters, even though the band, like the cheerleaders and dance team, perform at every home game and travel to state. In addition, the musicians in concert band that make all state or nationals have to pay for those trips themselves. I don't think the football team has to pay for their trip to state. We need some equality across the board about what parents and associations are expected to be responsible for.