Now there is a math equation that is probably not being taught in the public schools, though it certainly ought to be. ASB money is the "Associated Student Body" funds. These are monies that the students have worked hard to raise and the law clearly states that it is to be under their control, and is only be used on CARS. That's right, CARS!

CARS is an acronym which stands for Cultural, Athletic, Recreational or Social. ASB money is not supposed to be used on classroom supplies (even if a cultural class) or any items related to credited courses.

The laws relative to ASB funds may be found in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) at 392-138. In WAC 392-138-012 it reads that in addition to fund-raisers, the ASB may collect fees to be "…expended to defray the costs of optional noncredit extracurricular events of such a cultural, social, recreational or athletic nature, or to otherwise support the public activities and programs of associated student bodies."

Here is an example of appropriate ASB usage. ABC Public School has a group of students that decide they want to form a chess club. They get approval of the principal and start their club without any money in the bank. So they hold a fundraiser and raise enough money to buy several chess boards and timers. At the end of several successful years enjoying the challenge of chess, the club decides to disband. In an ideal situation they would have used all their fundraiser money on their activity and there would not be any money left over. If there is, it becomes the property of the District. Also, the club is not allowed to have "assets" and the chessboards and timers automatically become the property of the District.

There are some pitfalls to be watchful of regarding ASB funds. Some of the most glaring of them include: failure to have proper (or any) student approval on the expenditure of money; money is not used for CARS; and excessive reserve funds get established which become the property of the District.

ASB can be a very valuable and worthwhile teaching skill for the students. It is critical that parents be informed about how their students funds are being raised and spent so the children truly receive the value of their hard work.

It can be a good lesson for everyone. If you have any questions about ASB funds you may contact the Washington State Auditor, Brian Sonntag. His phone number is (360) 902-0370. If you would like to speak with another parent for more insight on ASB, please feel free to contact Val Barschaw, whose phone number is (360) 805-9591.