Financial pressure on school districts appears to be ever increasing. This means that private groups such as school booster clubs play a crucial role by supporting a school district, since their support increases a school district’s ability to offer extracurricular activities to students and to enrich students’ overall educational experience. However, when booster clubs and schools work in conjunction, they must uphold the proper level of independence from one another as separate entities.
The Relationship Between Schools & Booster Clubs
Schools and booster clubs are common working relationships these days and work together as follows. A board of education makes decisions regarding the operation of school district programming. Increasingly the school boards are working with smaller and smaller budgets. To help bridge those budgetary gaps, booster clubs provide support to assist in the successful implementation of district programs. The separate roles of booster clubs and schools should be clearly defined, so that there are no misunderstandings or inappropriate conduct.
The importance of booster clubs cannot be overstated, as they play a significant role in determining the level of support given to school programs. Booster club members enthusiastically support students, coaches and programs. In fact, one of the strengths of booster clubs is typically found in the willingness of booster club members to help out to support extracurricular student events. Booster clubs are designed to support and improve school programs, and should avoid creating conflict within the systems meant to aid and manage school programs.
Booster Club Fundraising Is Key!
One of the main functions of booster clubs is fundraising. Usually policies pertaining to fundraising should be designed by school boards to establish the best practices for accountability and transparency. These School district regulations are normally clearly communicated to booster clubs from the club’s inception. For example, booster clubs would be made aware that the school district does not permit the requirement of student participation in school fundraising activities and clubs instead should recruit individuals such as the parents of students to voluntarily assist with booster club activities.
Another example of how booster clubs must acknowledge and abide by school district policy can be observed in the handling of different kinds of funds at school events. School booster clubs may generally conduct concession sales or solicit donations on the site of school events, provided the board of education permitting them to do so. However, profits gained from gate fees during admission to school events, such as ticket sales for athletic contests or orchestra concerts, may not be shared with a booster club. Gate fee profits belong to the school district. While the relationship between booster club and a school or schools is extremely important, it is equally important that the relationship be regulated to ensure a positive working relationship for years to come!
Booster Clubs Help Schools By Being Independent!
Although the school district is responsible for establishing rules regarding appropriate booster club conduct during school events, administrators and board of education members must remember that booster clubs are independent entities from the school district. Most school booster clubs are organized as domestic, nonprofit corporations that maintain their own officers and directors. This means that what booster clubs do is decided by the booster clubs themselves. Booster clubs make their own decisions regarding internal booster club foundation and policies developed via their booster club bylaws. Booster clubs also manage their own affairs and finances, rather than depending on support from the school district. Just as booster clubs cannot take the funds that are meant for the school district, the school district cannot depend on booster clubs to provide the entire budget for school programs. Booster clubs are meant to provide helpful support for school programs, not to run them. When school booster clubs raise money during fundraising, the clubs themselves gets to decide which school programs they want to support with the funds. However, any money booster clubs give to the school district must be treated as a donations.
Booster Club Donations To Schools
A board of education is permitted to accept donations of money or property to be used for specific programs. However, a board of education may not give third parties, such as school booster clubs the responsibility for determining which programs will be offered or any control over the manner in which the programs are to be offered. Conditional donations must be carefully handled, and when accepted, a board of education must be sure to confirm that the conditions are legal and, if so, whether the conditions are acceptable for the school district.
The interplay between booster clubs and schools must be closely monitored to ensure that each entity is performing its proper role. The board of education and booster clubs must maintain independence from one another when making their own organizational decisions. The importance of booster clubs and the importance of the school district in relation to the success of school programs is clear, but conflict between booster clubs and school districts can be damaging to the programs they are meant to help. Defining clear boundaries between the duties of the school district and the duties of booster clubs will ultimately help both to work more efficiently together to support students.