Weatherford Democrat

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February 5, 2014

More Accounta-Belle

Questions raised about Blue Belles Parent Club's finances, operations leading to change

By SALLY SEXTON

After more than a year of questions regarding financial practices of the Blue Belles Parent Club, including the inability of an outside group to perform a financial audit of the non-profit booster club, steps are being taken to ensure better practices and organization.

Amy Wilkins, a parent of a Weatherford High School Blue Belle who also serves on the Weatherford ISD Council of PTA Officers, said she first began noticing issues in December of 2012 after a breakdown in communication at a Blue Belles event.

“I know about bylaws and non-profits so I just started asking, ‘Where are the bylaws? Who is in charge of communication? Who is in charge of fundraising?’” she said.

After attending more parent club meetings, Wilkins noticed that copies of profit-and-loss statements were handed out to parents, but no budget.

“I raised questions about that, about following procedures,” she said. “I wanted to see a budget. As a non-profit organization, you are required by the IRS to be transparent. You should be able to show where the money goes.”

From tax filings dating back to 2009, records show that the 80-plus-member drill and spirit group takes in and spends anywhere from $90,000-$120,000 yearly through dues and fundraisers.

Wilkins corresponded with then-treasurer Stephanie Manning Kirwin, inquiring about the budget and where to find it, but to no avail, she said.

Last June, Wilkins said she met with WHS Principal Lynn Pool as well as district administrators, including Weatherford ISD Superintendent Jeffrey Hanks, in an attempt to get her questions and requests answered.

“She wasn’t getting the answers she was looking for,” Hanks said.

Hanks originally told Wilkins that because the BBPC was a non-profit operating outside of the district, there was not much WISD could do.

But after more correspondence, Hanks and the district in September formed a three-person auditing committee comprised of WISD Director of Communications Charlotte LaGrone and administrative assistants Lisa Wulfjen and Jana Worthington.

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