Greenville Business Magazine September 2012 : Page 62

Booster Clubs BY DANA W. TODD PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN FOWLER The Big Business of The district encourages clubs to follow established Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) guidelines but has no legal authority over the clubs that operate autono-mously at the school level. Joe Wilson M aking money and fulfilling wish lists is what South Carolina public schools’ sports booster clubs are all about. Most of the booster clubs operate autonomously by parent volunteers who run them like small businesses, raising and dispensing cash, auditing records, and managing volunteers in close symbiosis with high school athletic departments. Some schools can’t operate well without booster club support. “Booster clubs are critical in Greenville County for raising money,” says Bill Utsey, Greenville County School District’s director of athletics. “Greenville has been frugal histori-cally, giving athletic departments [at individual schools] no funds for their operating budgets. A thriving booster club makes the school more competi-tive with other districts.” Frugality may be one reason Greenville High School has traditionally operated a strong and successful club, combining all fundraising receipts under a single all-sports club representing all teams at the school. Rita Stone, co-pres-ident of Greenville High’s club with her husband, Chuck Stone, says the booster club recently approved a 2012-2013 operating budget of $67,500, including $37,500 for supplementary salaries for coaches and their assistants and money for uniforms, team transportation to games, and field maintenance. Stone says it is costly to re-seed and fertilize the football field, so the club raises money to supplement the school’s budget. When one of the school’s buses recently caught fire, administrators turned to the sports booster club to request the thousands of dollars needed to buy a new one. Stone currently is in discussions with the athletic director 62 GREENVILLEBUSINESSMAG.COM | SEPTEMBER 2012

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