LEBANON — General rules are needed on how to spend the money from a district academic achievement fund, the Lebanon school board has decided.

Board members, with Chairman Russ McUne absent, discussed the fund Thursday after two groups from Lebanon High School asked for contributions from the fund to help them travel to out-of-state competitions. That discussion is to continue at the board’s next meeting, May 15.

The requests came from the Junior ROTC rifle team, which needs $6,500 to send seven shooters and a coach to Ohio this June for a combined Civilian Marksmanship Progran and Junior Olympics National Air Rifle Match, and from SkillsUSA, which needs $3,500 to send a student and chaperone to Kansas City this June for a national competition.

The board made no immediate decision on either request, asking students to first continue their own fundraising efforts. Action on the JROTC request, which was part of Thursday’s agenda, was tabled until May 15. The SkillsUSA request, made during public comments, was not given a specific date for further discussion.

The school board designated the academic achievement fund in 2012, with an initial contribution of $10,000, after a Destination Imagination team from Hamilton Creek won a state competition but couldn’t muster the funds to travel to the national contest.

The fund grew this year to $20,150. Board members agreed last month to draw down that total for the first time to help two wrestlers travel overseas as part of exchange teams this summer.

Wrestlers KiAnté Davis and Colton Sallee needed $2,800 and $2,500 respectively to make their trips to New Zealand and Japan. Both already had raised more than half those totals before coming to the board for help.

Board members voted 4-0 to backfill whatever was needed to make up the difference by the fundraising deadlines, saying during the discussion they wanted the students to be able to pull back at least $300 each from what already had been raised so they would have some spending money while overseas.

Business Director Linda Darling said Thursday the district had cut a check for $600 to the organization sending Davis to New Zealand, bringing the academic achievement fund balance to $19,550. Sallee still has some time left, but Darling said she anticipates cutting his organization a check for about $1,000, putting the fund at $18,550.

Darling said she didn’t know whether either wrestler had set aside any of their previously raised funds for spending money before asking for help with the final balance.

Board member Mike Martin said he felt the board made the right decision in using the academic achievement fund to support the wrestlers.

“But I think we should take a look at just what that fund was for, and maybe redefine it,” he said, adding later: “We keep putting money in it, and we want to use that money for how it was intended.”

Jennifer Moody is the education reporter for the Democrat-Herald. She can be reached at 541-812-6113 or jennifer.moody@lee.net.

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