The is working to enact stricter controls on fundraising for clubs and teams in response to concerns students are being coerced to particpate in fundraising projects or make mandatory donations to booster clubs.
"There are some troubling issues and we want to make sure, first and foremost, that no child is required to raise money," board President Robert Horowitz said at Monday's meeting.
To make certain that doesn't happen, the board is developing a policy that will establish guidelines for fundraising and expenditures from fundraising activities done by booster groups for clubs and sports teams. Horowitz said the various groups raising money for Watchung Hills Regional student activities have raised nearly $1 million over the last seven years.
Board Vice-president Harold Grossnickle, who is heading the committee working on writing the policy, said the policy will include that fundraising plans be approved by school administrators, and include pre-approved plans for spending any money collected.
Furthermore, the policy will separate coaches from any fundraising by booster clubs, with a code of conduct set for school staff members and club members to follow.
"What this is about is to make sure that money...is properly raised...and is properly accounted for and properly spent," Horowitz said.
The policy is also expected to state that participation in any fundraising is voluntary and no mandatory family contributions can be set, something Gillette parent Tania Nahorniak said she encountered in prior years when her son was on the baseball team.
Nahorniak recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Echoes-Sentinel charging the administration was giving coaches "carte blanche in supervising these teams." At the meeting, she noted one team required each of the 75 players in the program to raise $500, for a total of $37,500.
"My question is, can we get a full disclosure of where the money is going?" she asked.
Horowitz responded by suggesting she—or any other parent with infomation on mandatory fundraising issues—speak to Superintendent of School Frances Stromsland.
"The board's aware and the board has already acted," Grossnickle said.