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- The Forecaster
PORTLAND — Parents and athletic directors involved in sports boosters throughout the district will likely have the fall to put together their own bylaws to govern what will become consolidated sports boosters for each high school.
Superintendent James Morse Sr. has recommended to the School Board that the groups have the fall to work on the rules that will govern the new boosters. Under Morse’s plan, they would have until Dec. 1 to put together the rules.
If the groups cannot come to a consensus by then, the consolidated boosters would have to use previously drafted rules put together by the district.
“I had given them a set of bylaws I had written, that I pretty much lifted from Cheverus, which has a one-booster club,” Morse said. “This will give them the ability to craft it to be more Portland Schools specific.”
The bylaws will govern the way the new boosters programs work at both high schools.
“The days of each school doing their own thing are long over,” Morse said.
The bylaws recommendation comes after several public meetings with parents and coaches.
“As a result of these meetings, the Athletic Directors have developed a packet of common expectations, including financial reports, policies and guidelines that will be used at Portland High School and Deering High School this fall,” Morse said in the School Board packet.
The consolidated booster program aims to alleviate issues of financial reporting by the individual booster clubs and compliance with federal Title IX rules that require gender equity in athletic programs.
“Requests for financial statements by the superintendent in his first year as superintendent resulted in financial reports that were inconsistent, incomplete and in many cases incoherent,” Morse said in a June letter to the board.
In addition to creating consolidated boosters, the plan includes creation of a nonprofit foundation tasked with raising funds from local people and businesses to support athletics and extracurricular activities.
The School Board has already approved a work plan for the consolidated booster program, but has not yet approved the foundation director position or the booster policies that will govern the way the new program is run.
The School Board has also been asked to approve a few additional positions, including restoring two ed techs at Portland High School that were previously removed from the budget.
Morse said in the School Board packet that the initial cut was part of a district-wide reduction in ed techs, but the seniority of several ed techs at Deering High School lead to inequity between the two high schools.
The restoration of the positions will be paid for by savings found late last fiscal year in the federal jobs bill.
Additionally, the district hired a variety of teachers and administrators while the School Board was on summer break. The 31 new teachers’ salaries came in nearly $144,000 under budget. Morse said this was a result of offering retirement incentives to senior staff, which allowed the district to hire younger teachers who were lower on the pay scale.
He said the savings would go toward unanticipated costs such as insurance rates and heating fuel, if it was needed.