Keeping Tabs on Your School Booster Clubs

By Charles K. Trainor

Difficult economic conditions make a school board’s challenging job even tougher. Faced with rising costs, reduced state aid, and taxpayer resistance, boards have been coerced to trim budgets by reducing staff, increasing class size, deferring maintenance, and eliminating elective courses. At the same time, they are being forced to reduce or eliminate athletic programs, plays, concerts, and class trips.

To provide what most consider to be a well-rounded educational program, students and parents have developed homegrown alternative funding sources to deal with the financial cutbacks. In many districts, these funding sources take the form of booster clubs.

Some clubs have a formal structure with elected board members, financial report presentations, and bylaws. If the club has a tax identification number and meets federal guidelines, contributors may be able to make tax-deductible contributions. Other clubs are loosely formed groups of parents and other interested participants, with no formal structure.

Booster clubs can support a wide range of needs or target specific activities such as performing arts, academics, or athletics. Whatever the focus, it’s clear that many districts could not offer a complete educational experience without the extra efforts of these clubs and their volunteers. They are making a vital contribution in thousands of communities across the country. 

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