PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota board that governs high school activities has overspent on some items in its budget, partially on efforts to fight off lawmakers’ attempt to make the group abide by the state’s open records policies, board officials said Wednesday.
The High School Activities Association, discussing the first ten months of the fiscal year, said it required extra services from its lawyer and lobbyist while crafting new policies related to international and transgender students’ eligibility in sports and fine arts activities. The attorney also lobbied against a new state law taking effect July 1 that requires transparency. The group adopted its own internal policy promoting openness.
“If you look at the issues that we went through in the legislative session (and) the transgender policy,” said Executive Director Wayne Carney, “I think it’s money well spent.”
The association spent about $16,000 over the $4,500 budgeted for the group’s lawyer, much of it in April. Estimates for the same expense in the 2014-15 budget are up to $20,000.
Public and private school boards delegate some of their authority to the association, which is considered a non-profit, non-governmental organization.
The organization also spent about $940 extra funds on snow removal and $16,100 in addition to the $7,000 budgeted for its annual audit.
Carney said the association is required to pay the audit bill when it comes from the Department of Legislative Audit, and the bill reflects the number of hours worked by the auditors.
He said he’ll keep these expenses in mind as he prepares the next budget, which he said is always made from educated guesses based on past experiences.
The association spent more money than it made in four of the months since last July. Carney told board members it’s normal to be in the red a few months out of the year.
“We have some of our activities that fund all the rest of them,” he added.
Similar groups in other states have also seen revenues drop, Carney said.
The board also heard an update on investments from Brad Reinke a financial adviser.
“Overall performance is good,” Reinke said. “This portfolio continues to perform well.”
As of June 6, the portfolio was valued at $1.26 million.