EASTON, Pa. — At a lengthy Easton Area School Board meeting on Tuesday night, a proposed policy that would establish board oversight of booster clubs and support organizations drew its share of frustration from community members.
Rocco Fraccica, a Varsity E Club alumni representative, said the proposed policy to regulate organizations is what the club has done itself in its 74-year history.
“We have our own tax number. We have our own accountant. We have our own treasurer. We have our own lawyer and we have our own insurance,” Fraccica said. “And we’re audited every year, so I really don’t know what this policy can possibly do for us that we’re not already doing. It’s going to create a lot of paperwork and time that we don’t have.”
Several parents have complained about a rule in the policy that will prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from participating in gambling activities, which would include bingo and raffles.
Kerry L. Myers, chairman of Varsity E and deputy chairman of Northampton County Council, said the proposed policy attacked booster clubs.
“You are the representation of the people,” Myers said. “The administration works for you, including the superintendent. My heart is with the children and always has been, but at this very moment I wonder where yours is because this policy strips away what we do.”
Booster clubs and district PTAs paid $185,853 to Red Rover schools and teams during the 2020-21 school year, Superintendent David Piperato previously said.
The administration first proposed the policy in October 2021 with the goal of bringing all recall clubs and organizations under district oversight.
This would include regulating all fundraising activities and donations.
Earlier this month, a revision was made to the plan to place the organizations under the supervision of the building manager or athletic director, as opposed to the school board.
Still, the board filed the proposed policy on Tuesday night, with Piperato saying he would be willing to meet with representatives from all recall clubs for more information, although he said he doesn’t believe that much can be changed.
“In the management of gambling, we are not going to create a policy that ignores the law,” Piperato said. “Even if people don’t like that part, that part has to be there because it’s the law.”
“We’ve also been very clear about our willingness to work with all the different groups to help us create the bylaws, and we’ve shown our good faith by having multiple meetings with groups,” Piperato said.
“The question is whether or not this council has the political will to understand the governance necessary to oversee the process of hundreds of thousands of dollars that pass through the hands of the people here in this district,” he said.
Piperato added that the proposed policy is a recommendation from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
“The bottom line is that politics protects us all,” he said. “All he’s doing is putting guidelines in place. We’ll drop him, and we’ll come back and try again, but the answers will remain the same.”
It is still unclear when the policy will return to the council.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the school board voted to make masks optional for the district, except for transportation.