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Committee studying booster clubs in Cuyahoga Falls schools delays second meeting

By Gina Mace
Special to the Beacon Journal

CUYAHOGA FALLS: A meeting of the Cuyahoga Falls School Board Booster Club Committee scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday has been canceled.

A new date and time will be determined during Tuesday evening’s regular Board of Education meeting.

Committee chairwoman Barb Gunter and David Rump held their first meeting Tuesday last week. Superintendent Todd Nichols, who is the committee’s third member, could not attend.

The committee was formed to determine whether the school board formally should recognize booster clubs and other organizations that support Falls schools.

On March 4, Cincinnati attorney Erin Wessendorf-Wortman gave a teleconference presentation on booster club fundraising and laws. She suggested that the board consider developing guidelines and policies for formally recognizing booster clubs

Gunter told the dozen or so booster club representatives who attended that the committee was not formed to take over any organization.

“No minds have been made up, no decisions have been made, there are no done-deals,” Gunter said. “It is simply so we can put guidelines in place to put both parties at the least amount of risk possible.”

Gunter said that regardless of which type of recognition the committee chooses — formal, non-recognition, or the board’s current standard of informal recognition — “clearly some checks and balances need to be in place.”

“We need to establish when do the booster clubs act with board approval and when they act without board approval,” she said.

Gunter used the Cuyahoga Falls Tiger Marching Band trip as an example. She said the request for board approval coming less than three months before the trip “clearly put the board in an unnecessary position.” The band director sought approval for the March trip in January.

As Gunter continued with the agenda, which included making a decision on the type of recognition they should adopt and the policies and standards the board should set for booster clubs, Rump stopped her.

“We need to survey a whole bunch of schools in Northeast Ohio as to what they’re doing,” Rump said. “I think you can learn a lot from other schools as to what they’re doing. ”

Gunter reminded Rump that decisions need to be made so that guidelines can be in place by Aug. 1 “to be fair to everyone.”

She said she plans to ask Nichols to provide the bylaws and tax information for the booster groups.



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