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TASD considering new policy for booster clubs

A late October work session of the Tyrone Area School led to an extensive discussion about a booster club policy.
Administrators had submitted a policy for review to school board members. The normal process requires a 30-day review period before the policy is brought before the board a second time for possible approval.
However, after the extended discussion at the Oct. 31 work session, further action on the policy was tabled until at least January.
The idea to limit the amount of fundraisers each year for a booster club was floated by administrators. One school board member, Peter Dutrow, expressed concern with that idea. Administrators wanted to limit the total amount of fundraisers per year to three for each booster organization.
That was just one aspect of the overall proposed changes to the booster club policy. For example, nutritional concerns regarding items sold at school related events such as football games were addressed. Administrators say the policy is being directed by government initiatives.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. William N. Miller said, “If you take nutrition, these are driven at the federal level, in terms of what we need to do to address obesity within our student population and the population at large.”
He also cited “No Child Left Behind” as another federal directive that have generated hundreds of policies that need to be addressed. Miller said some of the issues haven’t been addressed regarding booster clubs and other issues for eight to 10 years.
Miller expressed concern that there have been internal conflicts or other unresolved issues among booster club members from time to time. He explained that the district is sometimes asked to act as mediator.
“They come to (the business or my) office expecting a resolution,” said Dr. Miller. “We really are not in the position to do that because our policy doesn’t provide for us to be involved with it.”
Miller said while the booster clubs are independent organizations, the district is now legally required to “make certain that there is equity that exists for boosters club.
“In effect, we are held to a status of equity, not just girls versus boys basketball,” said Miller. “That is why we have to get more involved because we are being held responsible across the board now and booster clubs are a part of this.
“We are obligated, we are creatures in state offices,” said Miller. “I am a state officer, we are not just agents of the school board, but of the state. Part of our oath of office is to support and defend our responsibilities.”
Miller said a lot of things come down to individual choice when it comes to healthier lifestyle issues, but nonetheless, administrators are charged with presenting the healthier choice.
He used the specific example of eating candy. School administrators plan on increasing the amount of healthier choices sold at concession stands during events.
“If you want to eat candy and fatten yourself up and want to live that lifestyle, that’s your choice,” said Miller. “However, that is not the lifestyle that is perpetuated by the school district, by state officials or by federal officials.”
Assistant Superintendent Joann Lang addressed the financial aspect of selling food items.
“You can actually make more money by selling wellness foods,” she explained. She said she had obtained a series of articles that detailed the success other school districts had in selling those types of foods.
“Good nutrition is part of curriculum now,” said Lang. “We start with early childhood. We are starting to teach good nutrition habits hoping it will carry over to the family.
“Pennsylvania is one of the worst states for (diabetes),” said Lang. “Kids aren’t as mobile as they used to be and obesity is becoming a national epidemic in our country.”
Lang said students serve on a committee regarding wellness issues. She said the students are being educated about healthy lifestyle issues. She said the students themselves have expressed concerns about food content and are more interested in learning about the effects of certain types of food.
She said the issues have a long-term effect including spiraling health insurance costs.
Earlier this month, administrators said the district is continuing to work on the boosters policy including seeking input from booster organizations.