Thank you very much for your email. I have been reading the thread on the Judo site... it's been fascinating/amusing/upsetting, to say the least. I have mixed feelings about putting out our info, only because I would never want it to appear like we are trying to benefit from all of this in any way. Let me tell you a little about us, and how we operate...
Although our school has only been in existence for 9 years, we have grown to one of the largest high school instrumental music programs in California with approximately 325 students participating in all aspects of our music performance groups this year. In 2008 we finished 19th at the Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, more importantly being awarded the Esprit de Corps Award. This national award is given to the band that “best exhibits pride, spirit, enthusiasm, friendliness, and unity throughout the Championships.” The past two consecutive years we have won the Marching Band Open Series Championship. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our students in these brief 9 years, stressing that they do all things with CLASS... Character, Leadership, Attitude, Scholarship, and Service to others.
In California, we are legally not allowed to charge any type of fee to students wanting to participate in our program. In addition, the entire music program receives absolutely NO funding from either the school or school district. We are solely funded through voluntary donations from our parents, and especially a lot of fundraising by our students. Everything we do... buses (last year over $45,000), music, instrument purchases/repairs, uniforms, etc. is paid for by our booster group. If a student wants to be in the band, we have to provide them an instrument. Every time we feed the kids a meal at a competition, or band camp, it costs us $1,000. Although we have a lot of kids, as you can imagine our expenses are extremely high and money is a constant struggle for us.
I have known Paul for several years. I have traveled with him, been to his home many times, eaten numerous meals with him, and sat next to him at many football games. His daughter, a wonderful young lady, was our Drum Major for two years. I have also sat next to him in Board meetings, listening to him explain our financial state as we cut things from the kids' program because we didn't have the money. This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions since I discovered the irregularities. My heart goes out to his family, yet I am hurt and saddened that he continued this on a constant basis for well over a year.
To compound the issue, we now have to have a forensic audit done and we've been advised it could cost around $7,500. Yes, this could be added on to the total amount, but I question if we will ever see all the money which means we'll never get this additional amount back. In the meantime, we don't have an extra $7,500 in our budget which means further immediate cuts to our student's program.
I'm probably giving you more information than you ever wanted. While your "associates" fight on the forum about whether they should stand by their friend who did something wrong to some unknown group, I sit here and wonder how he could look me, and everyone, in the eye for all those many months.
Should anyone wish to make a donation to our organization, it will be greatly appreciated.... so long as their motive is correct. Our Paypal email address is:
(communication to me goes to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a 501©(3) non-profit organization ID# 42-1631196. Our mailing address is:
Vista Murrieta Band Boosters
25060 Hancock Ave., Ste. 103-123
Murrieta, CA 92562