Governor Thomas Johnson High School Band
Frederick, Maryland
Student Account Information
Hello fellow band peoples,

At each of the last 3 band booster meetings, someone has openly asked, or was overheard (by me) sort of rhetorically asking themselves out loud how money gets into the Student Accounts. Since the student account concept plays such an important role in the funding of several of TJ’s band programs, and since I don’t feel like doing any of my ‘real’ work right now… I decided to compose a brief explanation of the concept. Before I launch into the basic definition of ‘our’ student’s accounts… I’d like to provide a little background information, which should help put things into perspective.

There are a tremendous number of ways to collect monies to fund/subsidize an organization such as TJ’s band boosters. You can determine the actual cost of running the program/s, divide that by the number of participants, and advertise that as the fee. The upside of doing that would be no fundraising. The downside would be terribly high fees. At the other extreme, some organizations advertise a relatively low fee, but then have mandatory fundraising commitments that each family must live up to, in order to make up the difference between the advertised band fee, and the actual cost of running the program. The upside of that method is lower ‘advertised’ fees. The downside is mandatory fundraising, and the administrative challenge of enforcing participation in fundraising activities. TJ’s student account concept is a solution in between those extremes. It is not a perfect system… but in my opinion it is a very good one. If you happen to suffer from insomnia, or happen to have won a Nobel Prize in finance, or are simply interested in how the band boosters spends ‘our’ money, you may certainly contact the executive board for an explanation. If you do contact them, they will draw straws to see who gets the ‘honor’ of explaining it all to you.

The advertised band fees at TJ probably cover somewhere in the neighborhood of 2/3’s to 3/4’s of the actual expenses for running the programs. Fundraising activities are run nearly continuously all year long. Participation in fundraising is totally optional, but highly encouraged. What makes participation in fundraising at TJ a little more palatable than in other booster organizations is the fact that the majority of the fundraising activities are used to directly offset the advertised band fee. That is accomplished because the funds generated by the “student account fundraising activities” are earmarked for your student. That ‘earmarking’ system is the Student Account. For example if your family filled 10 worker slots at Keys games over the summer, and sold a bunch of Joe Corbies pizza’s, and are currently diligently selling Coupon Books… the first 5 band payments totaling $520… may have only resulted in your family paying $100 or $200 out of pocket. If you’ve been really aggressive with your fundraising, those first 5 band payments totaling $520 may have resulted in your family paying no money out of pocket. The flip-side of that is… if your family has done no fundraising, your family has paid, or now owes as much as $520 to the music program. So in a nutshell, the student accounts are simply the booster organization’s method for tracking who the money belongs to, that comes in from the various fundraisers.

As I mentioned previously, the ‘advertised’ band fee here at TJ only covers around 2/3’s to 3/4’s of the actual cost for running the various programs. The shortfall is supposed to be made up by the 90/10 split, (10 percent of most student account fundraisers goes to the capitol account,) and the occasional straight-up capitol account fundraiser. If we all regularly participate in the various fundraisers, the band fees will remain stable, or <gasp> maybe even go down. If we don’t collectively participate in enough fundraisers, then the band fees will creep up.

There are quite a few nuances to the system. However, I only wanted to provide a high level overview here, and not render everyone unconscious. If you have any questions feel free to ask any member of the executive board, any of the parent liaisons, myself, or Ms. Sandifer. The contact information for everyone mentioned above is on the TJ Band web-site at www.tjband.org

I hope this answers some questions that I know have been percolating out there. If it generates more questions, that’s great! Please feel free to ask them.