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State auditor cites Highland Athletic Booster Club

By John Published: February 9, 2010

Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor  released this audit  today of Highland Local School District in Medina County, which includes a  citation regarding the Highland Athletic Booster Club.  You can read the exact citation after the jump, but let me add that it sounds scarier than it is. Basically, the district wanted to help the booster club increase its membership and allowed them to include passes to athletic events as a premium for joining the boosters, kind of like getting a mug from your public radio station during a membership drive. Problem was, the school board hadn't officially approved depositing the money in the boosters' account instead of the district's account. Bottom line, there was no money missing, the school board has passed the requisite legislation and the booster club has tripled its membership with the passes. I'm writing a short story on this for tomorrow's (actually, we're going to hold this a day) newspaper and just got off the phone with Highland treasurer Mary Markle, who retires this year after 30 years in the business (25 at Highland). This was her first "finding for recovery."

But again -- no money missing and the boosters tripled their membership. Keep reading for the actual citation:

FINDING NUMBER 2009-001

Noncompliance Citation- Finding for Recovery Repaid Under Audit Ohio Rev. Code Section 3315.062 through a student activity program, the moneys from such program must be paid into an activity fund established by the board of education of the school district.

The Highland Athletic Booster Club, (the Booster Club), a private non-for-profit corporation, sold ''Memberships'' to individuals for fund-raising purposes. Depending on the level of the Membership sold, individuals were granted admission to District athletic events. The Board of Education did not approve this arrangement and the Booster Club did not remit payment to the District for the value of the athletic event passes provided to its members. Based upon information provided by the Booster Club, the face value of the District athletic event passes provided to the Booster Club members was $13,556. On January 12, 2009, in order to offset the value of these passes, the Booster Club reimbursed the District $10,375 for the purchase of athletic uniforms.

In accordance with the foregoing facts and pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code Section 117.28, a Finding for Recovery for public money due but not collected is hereby issued against the Highland Athletic Booster Club, in the amount of $3,181 and in favor of the Highland Local School District, Medina County, Ohio, District Managed Student Activities Fund. On December 29, 2009, the Highland Athletic Booster Club paid the $3,181 to the District.

Officials' Response: consulted with legal council and the Booster group to get the matter appropriately rectified through fullrepayment to the Board of Education. Official Board action was obtained to allow this practice for the 2009-2010 school year. Repayment in full was made in December 2009.

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