Tennessee passed some new legislation this summer to tighten controls on high school fundraising, specifically taking aim at booster clubs.
In a move to erase illegal fundraising, fraudulent accounts and the misappropriation of booster club funds, the new laws are aimed at creating a system of checks and balances that will require each individual school and county school system to be held accountable for each dollar spent.
Each school and school system has until July 1, 2008 to be in complete compliance with the School Support Organization Financial Accountability Act.
For years, high school booster clubs have operated to provide financial assistance to high school athletic programs, as well as school clubs and organizations.
But as money continued to flow from outside sources into the school and through booster club presidents, treasurers, school principals and even athletic coaches, how that money is spent and exactly how much is furnished has sometimes been difficult to track.
Booster clubs are not the only organizations affected by the act. Educational foundations, PTA/PTO and any other non-government organization supporting students are under the umbrella of this act.
In an effort to keep money raised by parents who represent a booster club separate from students who raise money for their own clubs, organizations or athletic programs, the law stipulates that two accounts be set up — the Outside Account and Student Centered Fundraising account.
I think this is a good move by the State of Tennessee to bring accountability back to high school fundraising and would hope to see similar legislation adopted in other states.