Calls grow to consolidate athletic fundraising

By Jonathan Delozier -

Instead of relying on sports fundraising from 19 separate groups, some parents and Wellington Schools officials are calling for one “umbrella fund.”

Dukes cross country coach Bill Watters brought the issue up Oct. 17 during a meeting of the board of education. He said essential materials such as uniforms and a tent for outdoor meets have been hard to come by this year.

“We asked for some help with the cost of a tent at the beginning of the year and it was apparently not a necessity,” he said. “We’ve provided the uniforms, which are basically the kids running in tank tops and shorts.”

“The past three years, I’ve given an outline on how to (have one umbrella fund),” he said. “I bring it up every year but it never goes anywhere. The last time I talked with the heads of all the clubs, about 85 to 90 percent of them were on board.”

He singled out the Wellington Wrestling Club as one group that has said it would back joint fundraising across the district.

Mollie Diedrick, parent of a student at Westwood Elementary, said some parents don’t want to raise funds for anyone but their own kids and the sports they play.

“I can tell you I’m one of six moms out of 400 parents at Westwood who raises money for every kid,” she said. “I pay for field trips my kids don’t go to. I pay for equipment my children don’t use, because it’s not just about your kids, it’s about everybody’s kids. I think this needs to get done.”

According to board member Brett Murner, some individuals who run their own fundraising club may be reluctant to pool their resources into one large fund.

“Everyone likes being in charge of something,” he said. “People put their feelings into these organizations and they might not like us telling them what to do with the money they put together.”

Board member Daniel Rosecrans asked athletic coaches across the district to prepare lists of their needs.

“There’s no way these kids should be standing out in the weather wanting for a 10-by-15 tent,” he said. “It angers me this hasn’t been taken care of. I don’t know what every team needs.”

“The track teams needs a track,” responded Watters, referring to the running surface at Wellington High School’s Dickson Street stadium that has fallen into disrepair. Replacing it along with the lighting and football field at the facility are included in a four-year plan approved by the board this past spring.

Due to a shortage of bus drivers, some athletic teams have been forced to travel to games as much as four hours before their start time or even find other modes of transportation, Watters said.

“To have to show up that long before you run, sometimes when it’s raining, sets us up to lose,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate and as a coach it’s embarrassing.”

According to superintendent Ed Weber, the district is in the process of training two new full-time drivers, which would bring Wellington to a total eight along with two part-time drivers. Some teachers and coaches are working toward becoming licensed to drive a school van.

Weber added that an online survey could be used to gauge the feelings of athletic boosters toward pooling their resources

“If there’s interest in creating some sort of overarching organization we’d be more than happy to support that,” he said. “We lost a couple of newly-hired drivers, but these new ones are required to stay with us for at least 18 months as part of their training arrangements. If we can pick up just another couple of part-time drivers, it’d be the best fleet that’s been around here in years.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier