Mars upholds booster club policy

Organization sought waiver

August 21, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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ADAMS TWP — The Mars Area School Board took official action on a request that wasn't on the work session agenda Aug. 6.

The request came from the Finish Line Club, a track boosters school-affiliated organization. Club representatives asked the board to waive a policy regarding people eligible for leadership roles in booster groups.

“They requested a waiver of our policy ... that no school employee should be in a position of leadership within the club,” Wesley Shipley, superintendent, said during the work session.

Shipley told the board that a district paraprofessional was listed as the Finish Line president, which violates the district's policy. The policy permits district employees to act in an advisory position for clubs, but doesn't allow them to be officially involved.

“There are some specific legal reasons and concerns that we would like to make sure (are addressed),” Shipley said.

District solicitor Tom King explained the policy was established to keep employees from specifically handling booster club operations. The board uses the policy to prevent the intertwining of booster club and district operations.

“The board made a blanket policy,” King said.

“It was made ... on the heels of an actual incident,” board President Dayle Ferguson said.

King said if the board waives the policy now, it would likely do so again in the future and set a precedent.

“You need to decide whether you think this policy still has merit,” King said.

Ferguson reminded the board another reason for the policy is that the district doesn't have much of a say in any of school-affiliated organization's finances.

“We don't have any ties to that organization's cash flow,” Ferguson said.

She said waiving the policy would put an employee “in a difficult spot.”

The board unanimously voted against waiving the policy. Shipley said he would notify club representatives about the decision immediately.

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