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Published: Sunday, 6/8/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Big business for Perrysburg Schools' boosters, parents clubs

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Missy Madigan, left, president of the Toth Parents Club, and Sharina Ohanian, president of the Perrysbug Elemtary Parents Association, raise money to buy items to help schools in Perrysburg. Missy Madigan, left, president of the Toth Parents Club, and Sharina Ohanian, president of the Perrysbug Elemtary Parents Association, raise money to buy items to help schools in Perrysburg.
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Thirteen booster clubs raise about $90,000 in Perrysburg Schools to help fund electronic equipment staff appreciation items, and student events. 

The elementary school booster clubs, for example, have helped purchased sets of iPods and iPads for classrooms of younger students even as the district moves forward on its laptop for students program.

Each principal comes up with a “wish list” of new technologies and features for students and a booster club tries to fulfill those desires.

“We would not be the district we are today if it weren‘t for the support groups and parents,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said. “We have a support group that has talented, dedicated, and giving people working for the students in the district.”

The boosters club work is big money.

The band boosters have raise about $90,000 for band camps, going to Disney, uniforms, instructors and other activities. The Orchestra Boosters brought in and spent $27,000 last year for new music, instruments, and now, Matt Horvat, the president of the club, is trying to raise money to install windows in rooms without windows or without air conditioning in the Perrysburg Junior High School.

The newly started Perrysburg Theatre Group has raised $12,000 for new LED lighting used in the recent West Side Story performances.

All of the four elementary schools have annual budgets for such items of $8,000 to $15,000, based on how booster clubs‘ ‍fund-raisers go, and all that money goes back to the students, teachers, and classrooms. In the last four or five years, the booster clubs have moved from fund-raising drives in which students sell items such as magazines or pizza kits. Instead, events are held.

“I think parents were just tired of being bombarded,” said Christi Knowlton, president of the Fort Meigs Parents’ Boosters said about the take-home sales drives.

One event her club does instead is a student Hop-a-Thon, which is the club‘s primary fund-raiser. Students raised $16,000 this school year which allowed the boosters to purchase a guided reading program, smart boards to replace white boards in classrooms, a new bike rack, and a “buddy bench.”

Several of the elementary schools booster clubs have already paid for the “buddy benches” while others are looking into it.

“The buddy bench is for lonely students to sit and let others know they can use a friend,” said Sara Bassler, who is taking over the Woodland Parents‘ Club. 

Most of the booster groups hold a carnival or festival with games and prizes to have fun while raising money. the clubs also use box top rewards to raise money. Ms. Bassler said her group brought in 10,000 box tops at 10 cents a top last month, and 23,000 earlier in the year.

Another avenue to raise money is selling spirit wear. The Junior High Parents‘ Organization raises a few thousand dollars each year from spirit wear sales.

Another change for the boosters has been security of funds, stemming at least in part to the conviction of Kiki Lorann, who stole thousands of dollars from several Perrysburg youth organizations with baseball and from the Perrysburg Elementary Parents’ Association and the Toth Parent Club.

Mr. Hosler said the district is working to get all of the boosters groups set up so they can be 501(c)3 non-profits recognized by the federal government, and to be insured, bonded, and keep bank statements at the school The district also has FBI background checks conducted on volunteers.

“We now work closely with each individual group,” Mr. Hosler said. “The groups have come together too and developed a camaraderie between each other, there is no longer a competition.”

People who volunteer with the clubs sometimes love the feedback.

For Sherina Ohanian, president of the Perrysburg Elementary Parents' Association, she was pleased to hear from a parent about how the school‘s lunch reading enrichment program prompted her child to read more.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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