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Colorado school district asks booster groups to move funds to district entities; boosters say were told to dissolve

Colorado school district asks booster groups to move funds to district entities; boosters say were t
Colorado school district asks booster groups to move funds to district entities; boosters say were t 03:19

In Douglas County, there's some confusion about the future of school boosters, or nonprofit parent-run groups.

CBS Colorado's Olivia Young spoke with multiple parents involved in boosters from different high schools across Douglas County School District. They all say they were told at meetings earlier this year they had to dissolve their nonprofits by July 1. But now, DCSD's superintendent says that's not the case.


"I was extremely surprised," said Amy Valentine, a Rock Canyon parent.

Valentine is treasurer for the Rock Canyon Boys Basketball Booster Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit made up of parent volunteers that works to raise money for and support the basketball program.

"Ranging from uniforms to equipment to team meals, activities, summer, youth camps," Valentine said.

Their annual budget is $30,000.

But Valentine says she and other Rock Canyon boosters were told in February that those funds now must be controlled by the DCSD Foundation or the school, and that they would need to dissolve their nonprofits by July 1.

"They gave the instructions that would include closing out bank accounts and doing the shutdown procedures," Valentine said.

"The 501(c)(3)'s do not have to dissolve, but the funds would go through the new entity," Superintendent Erin Kane said.

Kane says the boosters were never told to dissolve, and there's no July 1 deadline.

"But in general, we are asking our booster clubs to come under the school in some kind of way," Kane said.

Kane says the district is asking boosters to move their financial transactions either through the DCSD Foundation, the school or a school-wide booster club account.

"The main reason is truly to protect these amazing parents who are running these booster clubs. There has to be fiscal oversight and accountability," said Kane, who says the district has seen transparency issues related to boosters.

But Valentine says, as nonprofits, booster clubs are already subject to strict oversight from the IRS.

"I think some parents are worried, 'Is the district or foundation taking some of these funds for personal gain? And is there a reason that these groups should be separate?'" asked CBS Colorado's Olivia Young.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. These funds are for our kids and our sports programs," Kane said.

Kane says the DCSD Foundation would take a small percentage of funds for bookkeeping support, but says booster groups will still function as before.

But Valentine worries the district is overstepping, and that changing messaging has already caused some nonprofits to dissolve.

"I just want what is best for all the 501(c)(3)s. And for some, that may be shifting their operations. But that being a mandate from the district is extremely problematic," Valentine said.

CBS Colorado looked into the rules governing booster groups in Colorado and was told by multiple state agencies that booster clubs are handled by individual districts, and each member school is responsible for the actions of its boosters.

Kane says most booster clubs in the district have already transitioned their funds to one of the district's three options. However, some parent leaders from booster groups say they're planning to fight this.

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