Wilton-Lyndeborough School District

Board is backing basketball camp

LYNDEBOROUGH — Despite questions on how a summer basketball camp’s financials will be handled by the Wilton-Lyndeborough School District, the camp will be held again this year. It will now be considered a school-sponsored event, not a private enterprise.

At the April 29 School Board meeting, camp organizer and Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle and High School teacher and coach Dave Finch said that last year he and fellow teacher Elise Driscoll had started a basketball camp for students, which was well-attended. He said students were charged $100 for a one-week basketball camp. Two coaches were each given $500 stipends for running the camp, and some upper-level students were also employed at $10 per hour to assist. A third teacher also volunteered services to act as a coach. The funds were all accounted for through the district, and put into the Student Activity fund, which is where the salaries for both coaches and student employees came from. The camp also generated an additional $500, which was donated to the district.

Superintendent Christine Tyree told the board that while the camp seemed a worthwhile thing, the way it had been funded last summer was incorrect. The Student Activities Fund was not the appropriate place from which to disperse salaries, she said. If the camp is to run again this year, the model for where the funds go and how the staff is paid will have to change.

The first thing to do, Tyree told the board, was to determine whether the basketball camp, which has been advertised as a fundraiser for the school’s physical education department in the past, should be treated as a school sponsored event or as an outside entity that would be renting the school facilities.

School Board member James Button pointed out that having programs like a summer basketball camp was a boon to the school, and helped to create an attractive school environment. He was in favor of having those programs whenever possible. Last year, in a similar situation discussed by the board, an art teacher wished to hold an art camp or classes at the school, in which she charged for the class and made a profit. In that case, too, Button said, he was in favor of making things easier for such programs to go on, and not more difficult.

School Board Vice Chair Harry Dailey pointed out that if programs such as the basketball camp become sponsored by the school, then the school assumes the liability and insurance cost should anything happen. Also, he said, although the basketball camp is meant to be a fundraiser, if the district took on the responsibility for paying an annual stipend to the coaches, it would have to pay those stipends regardless of whether the camp made enough profit to donate funds to the school.

Finch pointed out that through word of mouth, interest in the camp has grown, not decreased, and that there was the minimum number of children needed to run the camp last year. Driscoll added that at least 20 children are needed to run an effective camp, so if there were ever fewer than that signed up, the camp would not run.

The board discussed how the camp’s financials would be handled this year, if it were made a school-sponsored activity. District Business Administrator Lisa Ambrosio told the board that the board could assign a stipend, and proceeds from the camp could be entered into the general fund as unanticipated revenue, and the stipends paid from there. The revenue could be distributed at the board’s discretion, so any profit could be assigned to the student activity fund for the physical education department.

The board voted to approve the basketball camp as a school activity, to allow the coaches to begin advertising the camp and hold sign-ups. The board agreed to decide on concrete details about how the financial issues would be handled at a future meeting.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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