Preparations for annual audit lead to changes for some student clubs
As Mammoth Unified School District prepares for its audit at the end of November, compiling a list of ASB (Associated Student Body) sanctioned and non-sanctioned clubs has risen to the top of the to-do list.
“We’re getting our books in order,” explained MUSD Superintendent Rich Boccia.
One club that was notified it was not ASB sanctioned and would therefore either have to become sanctioned or begin to operate differently is the Interact Club — the youth arm of Rotary.
Interact Club advisors Tara McKenzie and Joanne Hunt were made aware of the change when some of the funding from Bluesapalooza was placed in an ASB fund rather than given to Interact. The Interact Club runs the parking fundraiser during the Bluesapalooza event.
“There was $1,000 in funds and $500 went into the ASB fund,” Boccia, a Rotary member himself, said.
Noon Rotary’s President Rick Phelps explained that the $500 was put into the ASB fund because it was donated directly by Bluesapalooza to the school. Boccia explained that the $500 would eventually end up in Rotary’s pocket. The situation, however, left Interact with the decision to conform or make some changes.
“If you want to raise money at the school [or in association with the school] you have to go through the process,” Boccia explained of the reasoning behind becoming an ASB sanctioned club.
The sanction provides a way for the school district to have a system of checks and balances. One part of the system is that ASB clubs must use a preapproval process for expenditures.
“It helps the District keep track of what the clubs are doing,” explained MUSD’s Business Manager [and former auditor] Donnie Salamanca. “It provides transparency and monitoring. Interact is not following the process it should be.”
Salamanca also explained that every year there are hot topics in school district audits.
“The ASB sanction is a hot topic on a bigger scale and is not unique to our district,” he said. With that in mind both Salamanca and Boccia said they are working on getting a list together of clubs that are not currently compliant in order to give them the same opportunity as Interact to choose whether to come into compliance or not.
“I’m not going to say all the clubs are in compliance,” Salamanca said. “We are gathering information to work toward compliance.” While the penalty for being out of compliance would most likely only lead to a slap on the wrist, according to Salamanca, it is part of the larger process of looking at the structure of the District as a whole.
According to Boccia, the only thing a club has to do to become ASB sanctioned is adopt a constitution. He said that he drafted a constitution for Interact, but the club chose not to go down the path of sanction.
By choosing to stay independent Interact will have to deal with a few things — most importantly it will not be able to fundraise on school district property or use the school district’s name in connection with fundraisers.
“Money raised in house has to stay in house,” Boccia said, which would negate Interact’s ability to give money it raises to Rotary if it became sanctioned.
The Club’s refusal to come into compliance, however, lets the school district off the hook, legally.
“Since Interact chose not to become an ASB sanctioned club, the school district is protected,” Salamanca said.
According to McKenzie, the entire 23-member club took a vote and came to the unanimous decision to stay independent.
Boccia stressed that the entire process was simply about oversight.
“I was asked why we had to change things when we’ve been doing them this way for 10 years,” Boccia said. “Because we have to be legal and follow policies.”