Columbia High school takes over finances from band booster clubPhoto provided by Atlanta News First
By Patrick Quinn, contributor
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — On Thursday, the principal at Columbia High School sent a letter to parents saying the school is taking over the finances of the high school band program.
“Due to recent alleged issues with donated funds, band booster club members cannot accept and oversee funds on behalf of students,” wrote Dr. Derrica D. Boochee-Davis, principal at Columbia High School.
The letter was co-signed by the DeKalb County School District superintendent.
The move comes after parents say past booster club leadership mismanaged thousands of donated dollars to the booster club.
The booster club is a separate 501(c)(3) organization that operates outside of the district.
Michael Lewis, a band parent, claimed the former president and treasurer were responsible for more than $6,000 going missing from the band’s budget.
Parents filed a police report with the DeKalb County School District’s police department alleging the mismanagement of funds.
On Thursday, a spokesperson with the district confirmed with Atlanta News First that the investigation is still underway.
Atlanta News First is not identifying the names of the former booster club leadership while the investigation is ongoing.
Atlanta News First reached out to the former president. She denied the allegations and said she has records of all expenses made while she was in leadership.
Lewis, who was recently elected by parents to serve as the new booster club president, is calling for the school to return management of the band budget to the booster club.
“We just want to be able to function as a booster club and get our children what they deserve so they can function as a team, and we can get them to these places they really want to go. And right now, it’s really impossible,” Lewis said.
Parents said the Columbia High School band was invited to play in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah in March, but will likely not be able to attend because of a shortage of funds.
Boochee-Davis wrote that a budget has been prepared, a receipt book issued and all collected funds will be deposited in the local school account to use on behalf of band students.
Boochee-Davis said a Columbia High School employee has been selected to sponsor the band program.
Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.