Investigation into School Fundraising Program
Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:07

The Youngstown Diocese is conducting an evaluation of the manner by which the SCRIP fundraising program as it is being operated at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School. The evaluation was prompted by concerns expressed at the school and in a letter received in November, 2011, critical of the SCRIP program at St. Charles School. A copy of that letter was also sent to the Boardman Police Department. The SCRIP program raises money by shopping with gift cards for everyday purchases like food, clothing, and entertainment. Each SCRIP gift card a family buys earns a rebate for the non-profit organization.

The purpose of the review is to assure that the SCRIP program is managed according to best national practices and appropriate federal and state laws. Approximately 23 of the 34 Diocesan schools operate the SCRIP program. The funds are used to support the general operating budgets of the schools and to augment various school activities.

As part of this Diocesan review, the Diocese engaged Packer Thomas, an independent public accounting firm, to review and evaluate the SCRIP operating and accounting systems at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School. The Packer Thomas report did document a number of issues with the manner by which the SCRIP program was managed and operated at the school, specifically in respect to record keeping, inventory, and financial reporting.

Diocesan attorneys reviewed the results of the report. To be thorough and transparent, the results of the report were also forwarded to the Boardman Police Department so that they could be satisfied that the concerns raised in the November letter were addressed. The Diocese will wait to hear from the Boardman Police as to their assessment of the situation.

            Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, Youngstown Diocesan Superintendent, stated “The Diocese takes these concerns very seriously since our schools rely heavily on private donations and fundraisers. We will investigate these concerns thoroughly and adjust the manner we operate the SCRIP program in light of the findings and recommendations of the Packer Thomas report, federal and state directives, and best practices that have been successful in other schools using the SCRIP program throughout the country.”