TEA probing Central High booster club
BISD assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and secondary education Patricia Lambert requested a meeting with the school district’s three high school booster club presidents and student activity coordinators Monday, Nov. 18, following reports that the Central High School booster program was hijacked by Lambert during her tenure as principal of Central High and is not keeping accurate account of the booster’s funds, potentially misappropriating dollars meant to support high school athletics.
Additionally, according to booster presidents from other campuses in BISD, Central’s booster under the control of Lambert and Central High employees is not subjected to district and UIL rules as the others are. New facts are now emerging that the booster funds have not only not been spent on Central’s sports programs but at least one check written on the school’s booster account covered the down payment for the campus’ senior prom party, although campus seniors paid money for the prom into the school’s activity fund.
Central High’s booster club is presently headed by Central staffer and agriculture teacher Ronald Kelley. According to parents going on record with KBMT Channel 12’s news crew, the high school booster club was taken from the parents and school supporters when current assistant superintendent Lambert was the principal of Central High. The parents said that since Lambert took over the booster, no information can be gleaned from the club’s financial accounts, and it is unclear what funds are being taken in and expended from the booster’s bank account.
The UIL, or University Interscholastic League, governs booster clubs in the state of Texas. According to UIL Public Affairs Representative Chris Schmidt, the rules for the local clubs are outlined but are generally used as guidelines or recommendations aside from certain rules that require strict adherence.
“This document provides guidelines which govern all booster club activities related to UIL-sponsored competition,” he said. “Since the UIL regulates and governs what participants, sponsors and coaches may and may not accept, it is very important booster club members and parents are aware of these guidelines. The UIL makes recommendations as to how booster clubs should develop and review policies, all of which are outlined in the booster club guidelines.”
However, he added, “The UIL does not keep records of local booster clubs.” The guidelines for booster clubs does denote where records are to be held in that “periodic financial statements itemizing all receipts and expenditures should be made to the general club membership and kept on file at the school.”
What would be shown should finance records be open to public is that not all the funds being expended from Central’s booster account are being used as per UIL rules. One check obtained by The Examiner shows more than $1,100 being spent from the booster account to pay for senior prom, although UIL rules specifically state that funds from the booster account are not to be used for “any activity outside of the school,” and that using booster funds for purely recreational activities is strictly prohibited.
What is also of note is that Central senior students paid in advance for the senior prom with money that was deposited into the school’s activity fund account. In addition to the funds used from the booster account to pay for the prom, more than $1,100 was paid in cash to cover the remainder of the bill.
West Brook booster president Bo Kelley said that his group has paid for nets, uniforms, videoing the students’ practices and games, and for a trailer to haul the players’ equipment and concessions to home and away games. Central High has been allowed the use of BISD transportation for hauling equipment and concessions, although no other high school campus has been afforded the same level of support.
“We have a great time doing what we do for the kids,” Kelley said. “It’s a shame that not all the students of BISD are treated the same, though.”
Following Channel 12’s news coverage, an investigation from UIL was requested by the Texas Education Agency.