SALEM TOWNSHIP — A school principal asked SAD 58 directors Thursday night why the Mt. Abram Boosters Club volunteers were required to explain their finances and operating procedures after operating successfully for the past 25 years.

Stratton Elementary School Principal Barry London acknowledged that his wife, Danielle, represents the club but said he was speaking as a former district teacher for 26 years, a coach and a long-serving booster club supporter.

“I’ve never seen the scrutiny and disrespect that’s been paid towards the Mt. Abram Boosters officers in the last three years,” London said. “I’m trying to decide if this is a personal vendetta, or if some of the people doing these things think (the Booster Club) is truly misusing funds.”

The all-volunteer group, he said, raises money for specific projects, including a five-year plan for track and baseball field improvements. Such larger projects require substantial amounts of money, he noted.

London said former Superintendent Susan Pratt, Mt. Abram High School Principal Shelly Tranten and school board Chairwoman Kim Jordan of Kingfield have required volunteers to attend monthly meetings to answer questions that easily could have been provided through a phone call. The club has its own tax number and pays its own insurance, he said.

With four athletic directors in five years, the district is fortunate to have a group of dedicated volunteers, London said.

Later in the meeting, Jordan said her intent wasn’t to micromanage the Boosters Club but to ensure that the club’s policies and bylaws were compatible with the district’s, even though the club considers itself a separate entity.

Jordan said she wasn’t worried about misuse of money, but she thought the club should provide administrators with more financial data.

“There is no accountability with just the expenditures report you gave us,” she told Danielle London.

Jordan also said that Brian Desilets, the most recent athletic director, had been developing a new Booster Club policy.

Danielle London said no one informed the club officers or members that a policy was being written.

New SAD 58 Superintendent Todd Sanders said he would be willing to serve as an interim liaison between the club and the board.

In other business, Sanders swore in Directors Barbara Nickerson of Kingfield, Cindy Dixon of Avon and Nicole Norton of Philips.

Directors approved using contingency funds to increase the accounts payable position from three to five days a week and merging the data specialist and guidance department secretary positions.

Facilities Director Scott LeHay said he is still searching for an affordable used maintenance truck. He said he could enter a four-year lease-purchase agreement for $10,000 annually for a 2019 Dodge Ram 2500.

The board chose to consider options at the next meeting.

LeHay also listed several projects, including substantial repairs to the Kingfield Elementary School roof, that require urgent attention.

Regarding potential savings for reconfiguring buildings and reassigning students, directors agreed they need professional assistance before presenting options to taxpayers.


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