School Board passes booster club policy revision

Arnold High School

Arnold High School.

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 08:55 PM.

PANAMA CITY — The Bay District Schools School Board approved a policy revision Tuesday greatly enhancing principals’ oversight of athletic booster clubs.

The board approved the updated policy by a 3-2 vote. Ginger Littleton, Joe Wayne Walker and Jerry Register voted in favor of the revision, and Steve Moss and Ryan Neves each voted no.

Booster clubs are responsible for their own fundraising and expenses, and their members canvas the community year-round in search of donations. Some booster clubs, particularly those in more popular sports, may have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in a bank account. Principals now have been granted a final say over how booster clubs can raise revenue and how they can spend the money they make.

“The school principal has final authority on the existence of and all activities of a club,” the policy states. “Failure to abide by the policies and procedures of the School Board may, at the discretion of the principal, result in the revocation of these privileges.”

Board attorney Franklin Harrison said: “The main thing this does is it makes certain that booster clubs understand they are under control of the principal, the guidelines of the (district’s) finance department and School Board policies as to how they conduct themselves and what they do with their money.”

Neves questioned whether the policy is well-intentioned but too far-reaching.

“It seems like we’re giving principals complete control over everything a booster club does,” he said. “Is that the purpose?”

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