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Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

Posted by daisyinga (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 27, 08 at 0:05

Has anyone here ever been a board member of a school booster club? I'd really appreciate some advice from someone who has been there/done that (got the t-shirt would be really nice)!


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

I'm sorry your question does not have any helpful replies yet. I'm not sure what you're asking for. Do you mean like a PTA or PTO or more like a sports or special activity booster club?

I was thinking that the existing booster club board members in your school would be the ones to ask. Then it occurred to me you might be trying to start a new one. Are you starting a new one?

Tell us more about what this booster club is, who it supports, what the goals are, the history of it. I don't know if I have good answers for you, but the more we know the better answers we can give you.


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

Thanks so much for the reply! We have started a new booster club at my child's school, to support the music program there. All the board members are new at this, including me.

The advice I need is this: Our bylaws were modeled after bylaws we found at many other schools. The bylaws we copied from other schools have been in place at the other schools for many years, before ATMs, check cards, debit cards, PayPal became popular. Our bylaws specifically require 2 or more signatures on each check. Our bylaws don't address debit cards, PayPal accounts, etc.

15 years ago, most booster clubs I knew made their purchases by check or from petty cash. The treasurer kept the petty cash box and the check book, so the treasurer either wrote the check for each purchase, or disbursed petty cash for the purchase. So the treasurer and the booster board in effect made all purchases or authorized them in advance. To me the spirit of the bylaws is that the booster board makes the purchases.

However, particularly with the advent of PayPal, our booster club has the technical ability for the music directors (teachers) to make purchases. Our treasurer (new at this) has said that the music director (a teacher) can make PayPal purchases and simply give him the receipt and that is fine.

I'm concerned for a lot of reasons. It's my impression that historically the separation of disbursement of funds is an important protection for the teacher. If the board makes the authorization and disburses the funds, then any mishandling of the funds is the board's fault, not the teacher's. I also think the spirit of the bylaws is being violated by allowing the teachers to make direct purchases - I think the 2 signature requirement is to force 2 board members to scrutinize each purchase in advance, except for the ones small enough to come out of petty cash.

Anyway, if you've read this far I'd love some advice, particularly from anyone active volunteering with the school system.

Our music director is an honest, upstanding person who would never misuse the funds. However, there will be a turnover in board members and also in teaching staff, and who knows what the next board members and music directors will be like? It's important that we keep the accountability in place, at least I think so.


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

I've been on the board for PTAs and PTOs, and for DD's gym boosters in a small way. Mostly, I try to avoid handling money for groups. ;o) But, a few years ago, I was the president of the non-profit group we founded to run the fundraising and business of building a community built playground. Sort of a booster club for the playground.

I agree with you, the teacher should not make a purchase online charging it to a booster club account. The spirit of the bylaws is to maintain oversight of spending. The use of debit cards, etc cannot be used as a loophole to lower the standard. I prefer to avoid even the opportunity or perception of impropriety. The board cannot make the distiction of who can/cannot make those kinds of purchases based on who they think is trustworthy. It has to be objective, by the rules and board positions assigned to handle money. Even if it sometimes causes inconvenience. When I was "in charge" I was always conscious of the fact that I was spending someone else's money and felt the weight of that responsibility. It wasn't MY money to make decisions with, it is the members/donors money that they have trusted me with. I always wanted to act in a way that showed we were being responsible and accountable for every purchase. In the long run, it's best to follow those bylaws to the letter. I'd ask myself, if members ask to review the finances, or there is ever an audit, how would a purchase like that look to them? It would look like there wasn't proper oversight or accountability. Error on the side of caution.

It's too tempting to let a rule slide because the situation seems so harmless. And this situation might be, but it could lead to another situation that is not. Maintain that integrity and avoid possible future problems.

If a teacher wants to make a purchase from a website, there are other ways to make that happen than just verbally authorizing him/her to use the account. It might be more complicated, but IMO, it's for the best for the reputation of the group.

Does that help? Or have I missed your point?


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

No, that is exactly what I was looking for, Stephanie. I agree with every single thing you said. I think I may be the only person on the board who feels that way, and certainly I'm the only one who is concerned about it.

Thanks for the feedback. I just need the confidence now to go in and argue my point a little more vigorously.


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

I have been involved in many booster clubs related to my kid's school activities, and all of them have followed "Robert's Rules". If you google that, you will get more information than you probably want on the proper procedures for organizations/non profits.


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RE: Ever been a board member of a school booster club?

My DH and I were at various times on the band boosters and the sports teams boosters ( really football).
In all cases the booster clubs either made the purchases or donated cash to the faculty member who wanted to make the purchase.
No one had access to a bank card....all went through the treasurer....who was my DH for a couple of years.


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