An order for After Prom clothing apparel triggered a minor rift between booster organizations at Genoa Local Schools.
However, one booster president said the misunderstanding may have actually developed because of the language of a letter sent by the superintendent in an effort to clarify the situation.
T-shirts and other items ordered by the group for the After Prom event were brought up during a recent meeting of the school board. Genoa Athletic Boosters President Laura Shehan attended the meeting and noted the purchase veered from the usual protocol to go through the athletic boosters, said Superintendent Dennis Mock.
“The After Prom group has a new set of officers. They really didn’t know that this was the way things have been done in the past,” Mock said.
The board responded by having Mock send a letter to leaders of the After Prom, PTO, Music Boosters and Athletic Boosters reiterating past policy.
Mock said the letter was sent to remind leaders, new and old, of how clothing purchases had been handled in the past. The reason for using the athletic boosters, in part, includes maintaining uniformity in the look of the school insignia, the superintendent said. And boosters have already spent money on various artwork designs for T-shirts.
“That can be pretty costly,” he said.
One booster organization member who contacted The Press said other organization members felt the letter was heavy handed, that the board was favoring the athletic boosters by forcing the others to go through them for fundraisers.
But Shehan said this is not the case. The Athletic Boosters do not want to handle all the merchandising, only a select part. She added she believes it was the letter that the board sent that actually triggered the misunderstanding.
A copy of the January letter was provided to The Press.
It specifies there has been a “long-standing verbal intent agreement whereby organizations, which support the district via clothing merchandise fundraisers, order the product/clothing in cooperation with the Genoa Athletic Boosters.”
It notes this format was not followed this school year and then adds, “For your information, the proceeds of any clothing merchandise benefit the purchase of uniforms for our athletic team(s).”
The letter concludes by asking organization leaders to contact building principals regarding clothing fundraiser requests in the future.
Shehan admits she did attend the board meeting to ask board members to clarify the policy She, however, noted that what she requested is that other groups go through the boosters for any items that solely carry the generic Genoa Comets name and insignia.
“If they want to put something about the football team, the After Prom, they can do what they want. They can use whoever they want to provide them. That is not what I was talking about. I was only talking about products with the generic name.”
When contacted Tuesday, Julie Tucholski, the After Prom Committee President, said she had no comment on the issue. She said she was not aware the letter had caused a stir.
“We do not have any problem with the Athletic Boosters or any other organization,” she said.
Mock acknowledged the other organizations have the right to venture on their own for any of their products, if they choose. The policy is verbal not written, he said.
“They don’t have to go through the athletic boosters. That’s their prerogative,” Mock said.