School officials discuss state's booster club mandates
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS "Any club who'd want to be involved would be welcome," says Tamaqua Area school director Daniel Schoener, left, at Tuesday's workshop. In background are director Robert Betz and President Larry Wittig.
School sports booster clubs across the commonwealth are being redefined due to state mandates.
A 90-minute Tamaqua Area Board of Education workshop on Tuesday included in-depth discussion about some of those imminent changes at the state level regarding school booster associations, specifically relating to 50-50 raffles, reporting requirements, and the required small games of chance license.
"There are new mandates forcing districts to be owners of the small games of chance license," explained Superintendent Carol Makuta.
The Tamaqua district currently has seven different sports booster organizations that have raised over $15,000 in recent years.
On hand for the discussion were Cathy and Dan Miorelli, Jessica Zeigler and Patty Skripko of the Tamaqua Area Football Boosters Association. The four attended the meeting to gauge the board's mindset about the changes and their general attitude about moving forward.
The new guidelines appear to advocate the creation of one "umbrella" booster association, perhaps called the "Tamaqua Area Booster Association," which would be required to legally incorporate, obtain a $100 small games license on behalf of the district, and assume responsibility for coordinating finances of each booster club along with related reporting responsibilities.
"Any club who'd want to be involved would be welcome," said director Daniel Schoener.
However, Schoener and other directors had many questions as to legalities and expressed a desire to learn more about the process.
President Larry Wittig also voiced a need for more information regarding the state mandates.
"I'm unclear as to who owns the money. There are more questions than answers at this point," expressed Wittig.
Mike Hromyak, athletic director, outlined his understanding of the changes and some of the expected ramifications.
"Those individuals taking leadership roles will need to have a background check," Hromyak noted.
In addition, Hromyak revealed results of a survey he conducted of nearly two dozen school districts and what their intentions might be concerning the small games of chance license requirements.
About half of those districts plan to apply for a license on behalf of their booster clubs, said Hromyak.
Makuta said one of the challenges might be "keeping all of the revenue accounted for per club." She indicated that the Tamaqua district will get the solicitor involved.
In general, the board is leaning toward approval of the concept, "but we need to do more research," said Makuta.