The Litchfield Sports Booster Club, citing a deteriorating relationship with school officials, has decided to no longer fund equipment and activities not covered by the education budget.
The booster club\’s issues are outlined in a letter club member Jon Torrant submitted to the Board of Education on Wednesday. The letter was from the club\’s board of directors.
"In the past, the LSBC has enjoyed a solid and harmonious relationship with school administrators, athletic directors and coaches," the letter reads. "Unfortunately, that relationship has deteriorated and we have been forced to work with less than cooperative administrators."
Litchfield High School Principal Kristen Della Volpe said the relationship with the booster club has been a good one.
"I can only thank them and let them know they are very much appreciated," Della Volpe said after the school board meeting. "If they feel there is a problem, I\’d be more than happy to sit down with them and talk about it."
The booster club has donated more than $175,000 since its founding in 1990 (see list below). Torrant said the club will continue to fund scholarships, an annual awards ceremony for high school athletes, and the Litchfield Athletic Hall of Fame, but will no longer entertain requests from administrators or coaches for funding for equipment and activities.
"We regret this decision since student-athletes will unfortunately be negatively affected," the letter reads. "If conditions change in the future, we will revisit our decision."
The booster club, according to the letter, was angered when school officials gave two out-of-state businesses permission to solicit donations from local businesses for seasonal athletic calendars. The booster club had been doing that for years as a fundraiser.
School officials, according to the letter, also upset the booster club with remarks in e-mails exchanged during former swim coach Bill Dranginis\’s attempt to regain his job in August. Dranginis has been one of the leading members of the booster club.
"The low regard the current administration has for the LSBC was made painfully clear during a recent public hearing (on Dranginis\’s appeal)," the letter reads. "Administration e-mails that contained degrading comments about the LSBC were read for all to hear during that public hearing."
ANNUAL DONATIONS: Scholarships (two of $2,000 each); spring athletic awards ceremony; summer basketball teams; SPLASH donation; yearbook ad; After-Prom donation; Litchfield High/Shepaug hockey co-op; Litchfield Athletic Hall of Fame; BL golf tournament
ONE-TIME DONATIONS: Banners in LHS gym; LHS mascot suit; LHS trainer; track and field tent; rowing team equipment; swim team equipment; fitness lab equipment ($18,000); ice machine; bus for baseball trip to Cooperstown, N.Y.