The Upper Moreland School Board meeting last week at the Intermediate School garnered attention from community clubs and organizations as audience members questioned fees they thought were unwarranted.
Lisa Driscoll and other members of the Booster Club, which raises funds for many co-curricular activities in the district, came to explain the contributions of their club more than offset the costs of the school hosting their Sunday breakfasts.
“We give a heck of a lot back to the school. We have value. We don’t think it’s over and above to ask to not have to pay for the janitor,” Driscoll said.
Donald Warner, chairperson of the facilities and operations committee, explained that the fees were in place to make it even for other organizations.
“We’ve just been trying to tighten that up. We want to make sure there’s balance and fairness to other organizations.”
Driscoll then presented a financial breakdown of the donations given by the Booster Club, which illuminated the situation regarding co-curricular funding. Since the economic climate has forced cuts across co-curricular departments, coaches have been approaching the Booster Club for supplies like bats for the softball team when their own budget could not cover all the supplies needed for the new season.
“The district is extremely grateful for the efforts and fundraising by the Booster Club, but they shouldn’t be the ones responsible for buying softball bats,” said superintendent Dr. Robert Milrod. “The coaches should be coming to us and saying this is what we need, and we’ll do what needs to be done to make sure they have the equipment they need to start the season.”
Athletic director Richard Gould gave an impassioned speech to the room about the budgeting for athletics and the need for organizations like the Booster Club.
“I used to get $105,000 to fund 28 teams. That got cut to $94,000. Now about $75,000 of that has to go to officials and dues, which leaves me with $19,000 to fund nearly 30 teams," Gould said. "We need another way to fund athletics.”
According to committee discourse, an issue with supplemental funding to the coaches is that it isn’t kept track of by the school district, as the coaches reach out to organizations outside of the district.
“That’s what we need to get to, put the accounting in the right spot,” said committee member Paul Roberts.
Donald Warner added that the administration was “looking to put together a better process.”
Milrod has recently been working on a list of equipment needs for all co-curricular activities that shows the frequency at which equipment should be purchased.
“Organizations that want fees waived need to show the board how they will offset district costs, and that will get us through this year,” Milrod said.