The debate surrounding whether the booster clubs should be covered by the insurance policy in the Dover Area School District continued at Wednesday's board meeting.
The school board had asked all booster clubs for several years to submit reports that show their financial operations and proof of their nonprofit status with the IRS and the state's Bureau of Charitable Organizations, a continuing request that culminated in a board motion in October requiring that the records be turned over in November.
The aquatics club and the athletic boosters submitted the appropriate paperwork, but district business manager Belinda Wallen said the band and choir boosters did not.
Wallen said both groups need to show proof of their status as a nonprofit or charitable organization. The motions on the agenda for Wednesday night included requiring both groups to show proof of filing before April 30, 2014, in order to be a sanctioned group of the school district. The motions also designated both booster clubs as "noncompliant" until they show proof of those financial filings.
Requirements: But Stephen Cook, a board member and previous band booster club president, said the club was already in the process of determining which filings were required from the organization. Cook said his research shows the club may not have to file with either the IRS or the state's bureau.
"No offense to Belinda (Wallen), but I'm not sure her recommendation is accurate," Cook said.
Cook said he mainly took issue with the term "noncompliant," because the club was making an effort to determine the appropriate financial reporting necessary.
Board member Kelly Mefford said she also didn't agree with the term "noncompliant," and needed further clarification about the implications of using that language in regard to the organizations.
Solicitor Ben Pratt said the board could allow time for the booster organizations to figure out exactly what the state and IRS require for financial filings from the booster clubs. But Pratt also said the district could be held responsible for legal concerns if the booster clubs are not aligned properly with the school's policy that requires the boosters to show proof of the filings.
"You, as a school board, have to take into consideration the possible liabilities to you," Pratt said.
Ongoing frustration: Board member Charles Rauhauser expressed frustration at the continuing debate, and said the organizations should be able to easily supply bank statements that would speed up the process of proving their compliance with the school board and reporting agencies.
"We take a lot of time discussing this problem that could be solved quickly," Rauhauser said.
The board will discuss the option of not recognizing the booster clubs under the school's insurance policy at the next board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Cook said there is a perception among booster club members that leads him to feel frustrated about considering removing the booster clubs from the insurance policy.
"There's probably no harder-working groups in our district," Cook said.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.