Hudson School Committee reviews student activity funds


Hudson School Committee reviews student activity fundsHUDSON — The Hudson School Committee made three votes at its Nov. 14 meeting about the student activity funds. There was a particular focus on the inactive or unused fund balances for club sports, like girls volleyball, and remaining balances for softball and girls soccer.

The committee authorized the active accounts as presented and the list of stipends to be paid from the student activities funds, as well as a maximum balance of $75,000 for the student activity checking account.

However, the School Committee did not vote to authorize to close the list of inactive accounts over $500.

The review is part of the state guidelines for student activities to continue to be managed, according to Director of Finance and Operations Dan Gale. The list of student activity accounts included a balance of $1,466.15 for girls soccer, $940.44 for softball and a zero for girls volleyball.

“After three years of inactivity, we close those accounts,” said Gale.

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School Committee member Molly MacKenzie asked for clarification that all the highlighted accounts were inactive. Gale said the accounts with funds have not seen any spending for a couple of years and going forward the Athletic Department would look to boosters for funding.

“So to build on Molly’s point, to clarify what you’re saying that it’s not these aren’t active. It’s just that … the money’s coming from boosters,” said School Committee member Mark Terra-Salomão.

Gale said they would either spend out the balances this fiscal year or put them into a general account so the individual accounts would not be needed.

School Committee member Christopher Yates asked if the funds would still be spent on the sports they were intended for. Gale said that would be tracked.

Terra-Salomão asked why there was a need to change the highlighted accounts from multiple ones to a general account. MacKenzie expounded on this and asked if it was up to the discretion of the financial adviser why they would close accounts with money in them.

Chair Steven Smith did clarify with Gale that the active accounts with funds had been “dormant for three years.”

Yates noted that the boosters do not have a stipend position to manage the funds, so “it’s all volunteer.” He worried about having a mechanism in place to ensure leadership roles are consistent.

“It’s kind of just, I think, there’s a bigger question here about athletics being properly funded in general,” said Yates.

Gale said that with the bureaucracy involved in spending, the student activities funds slowed the process, while boosters could spend funds more easily with less guidelines. He said that the accounts could be left open for the year for the School Committee to “try to get them spent.”

Terra-Salomão believed as the funds were donated privately in some cases, it should “remain delineated what’s what.”

“People are raising money, going out [and] asking people for donations,” he added.

Smith came to the conclusion that the School Committee needed “to have a plan” of how it could structure athletic funds within the financial framework of the school district budget.

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