School dist. says it's working to account for cheerleading funds

School dist. says it's working to account for cheerleading funds

TIGARD, Ore. – The Tigard-Tualatin School District says it's making good progress accounting for a huge gap in fees and fundraising money for the cheerleading team.

Superintendent Rob Saxton says the gap in funds for the team is now down to $13,000, which is a big improvement from last week's $33,000. But it's still a lot of money to account for.

In its investigation, Saxton said the district discovered some former cheerleaders did owe money and some current cheerleaders still owe.

"I think just some shoddy bookkeeping and recordkeeping on who's paid what," he said.

But other families questioned about whether they paid their $2,000 in cheer expenses were able to show they did. Some of those families had turned to KATU News frustrated the district didn't do a better job keeping track of cheerleading funds.

Saxton admitted mistakes were made when money was collected.

Former coach David Long was primarily responsible for turning in funds but Saxton said it's the whole system that needs a change.

"We've got kids who are bringing in funds, parents who are, a coach who is and then a bookkeeper at the high school, a bookkeeper at the district office," Saxton said.

With a new coach in place now, Saxton is prepared to cover whatever gap is left.

"It wouldn't be fair to saddle kids with needing to pay for something that is left over from previous years," he said.

But the money will have to come from somewhere else in the district at a time when funds are already tight.

"We think in this district that we do a really good job of keeping track of money," Saxton said. "In fact, we pride ourselves on being really frugal and having really good accounting procedures in place. Typically we do. In this case we didn't."

The superintendent is considering ending a policy that gives athletes funds upfront and allows them the year to pay it back.

Long resigned a few weeks ago for personal reasons. He's cooperating with the district's investigation and said he's turned in every check he collected.