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Brainerd School Board: High school to hire part-time music funds manager

The Brainerd School Board has approved the hiring of a part-time music funds manager. Brainerd Dispatch file photo / Steve Kohls

The Brainerd School Board gave its approval for the high school to post for a new position—a part-time music funds manager.

High school principal Andrea Rusk explained to the board at its Monday, Aug. 13 meeting how the school used to have someone to manage the extensive funds raised by music students but has not had the position filled for quite a few years after the previous funds manager retired.

"We have operated using our resources," Rusk said, noting a clerical cashier at the high school has added the fund managing duties to her task list, though it's a lot to take on.

"I'm here today asking if you would support us posting for a part-time position," Rusk said Monday. "This would be a one-year position to see how it goes."

Duties of this part-time position—with the majority of work taking place from September - November—would include managing all funds raised for the music program, both by students and businesses, and allocating those funds to the right student accounts.

This position would have no impact on the district's general fund but instead would be paid for with funds from the music program's community collection, which Rusk said comes from local business who sell coupon books and give part of the profits back to music students.

"That money is used at the discretion of directors, maybe to help offset of the cost of a student in need, and they keep it for any surprise expenses that may come up," Rusk said.

The music directors, she added, said they haven't had to use money from the fund—which garners about $3,000 annually—in a few years because students have done such a good job fundraising on their own.

Rusk also said fundraising money has been recorded using paper and pencil in years past, but there are many online programs available to help with that record-keeping, and she would like to have someone trained on that software.

When board members asked if the funds manager could work with other groups that do a lot of fundraising for trips—like world language students—Rusk said that could happen in the future, but right now she would just like to start out with the music program because of its large number of students and funds.

"We're open to including more groups because we think it's a pretty good model," Rusk said. "But with this particular request, music had already been built in this community fund, and there was a past practice of having somebody do that."

Board member Chris Robinson asked if this position would help with yearly audits, as the district usually gets dinged for oversight of student fundraising dollars.

Business Services Director Marci Lord said it could help but only minimally because there are still so many activity groups that do cash deposits and manage their own funds.

But that answer was good enough for Robinson.

"My impression is that this might be a good way for us to begin the process of having greater accountability in our fundraising and record-keeping efforts," he said, just before making a motion to post for the position, which the board approved unanimously.

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