Reports of booster club members embezzling money from the organizations they were representing have been in the news.
Warren County is no different where Jennifer Fisher, former WCHS color guard coach, was indicted for stealing Band Booster Club funds. Over $23,000 worth of money was missing from the club, but only $3,465 could be traced to Fisher.
As a result of seemingly easy access to large amounts of cash generated through club fundraisers, local school officials are bearing down on school support organizations and the way in which they will account for all money coming into, and going out, of the organizations.
Director of Schools Bobby Cox, along with school system attorney Robin Phillips, recently held a meeting with school support organization representatives explaining the school system’s new fundraising policy.
A school support organization (SSO) must do the following:
• File a copy of their charter with the Secretary of State.
The organization must annually confirm its status as a nonprofit, describe its goals and objectives, and provide the address, telephone number and position of each officer of the organization to the director of schools or the director’s designee.
• Maintain some organizational structure to the booster club (bylaws, officers, rules for meeting and membership, etc.)
• Get permission from the director of schools or his/her designee to conduct fundraisers. All new fundraisers must be approved by the principal of the school.
• Keep up with all records.
• Document and maintain a detailed list of receipts and disbursements. Any forms, annual reports, or financial statements submitted shall be open to public inspection as a public record.
• Annually file a statement of total revenues and disbursements with the director of schools or his/her designee before the end of the school year.
• Maintain adequate separation of duties between SSO officers and schools employees who are in charge of the related school club or athletic group the SSO supports. An employee of the school system cannot be a bookkeeper for the club, sign club checks, or be in charge of handling money at the fundraisers.
• No debit cards nor cash may be used to make purchases for the organization. All bids should paid with checks and two signatures must be on each check. Each check written should have a receipt or invoice filed by check number.
•A minimum of two people should count cash each day at each fundraising event.
• When a school support organization operates a concession stand or parking at a related school event on school property, the support organization must provide the school with all relevant collection records.
• One person should not have complete control of the organization’s finances.
• Designate a support organization officer as custodian of records.
• The organization should form a financial review committee or designate a member as financial reviewer to provide an independent review of the organization’s records and financial activity. The treasurer should not serve on the financial review committee or be designated the financial reviewer.
• The Director of Schools shall annually post a list of organizations that are recognized as SSOs.
• The principal shall designate a date at the end of the school year, by which time the SSO shall provide a detailed statement of receipts and disbursements to the applicable school principal, or if no principal is applicable, director, or director’s designee.
• Annually provide an financial review and inspection form and an information form to the Director of Schools or designee.
• The treasurer should provide a signed financial report to organization officers on a monthly and annual basis.