- Facts about Piedmont’s annual Turkey Trot provided by the Piedmont Unified School District Superintendent, Constance Hubbard –
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The District wishes to alert parents and students to significant events with respect to Piedmont’s annual Turkey Trot.
Since 2003, the Turkey Trot has been run by the PHS Cross Country Team, PUSD coaches, and families. The Piedmont Unified School District financed the Trot (shirts, timers, etc.) with student funds held in the Piedmont High School Associated Student Body (PHS ASB) account. All proceeds were used to support Piedmont High School’s Cross Country & Track programs, and to acquire exercise equipment to benefit the whole school.
In December 2013, a few of the race organizers independently filed papers to incorporate as the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to assume responsibility for this annual event. Although the organizers obtained funds to finance the 2013 Turkey Trot from the PHS ASB account as per usual, afterwards they claimed that the proceeds would be distributed at the discretion of the Turkey Trot Corporation.
At this point, the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation has neither reimbursed the District in full for the funds provided in 2013 nor turned over the profits of the November 2013 Turkey Trot. The intention of the organizers going forward is not clear, as the new web page states for the 2014 event states that “proceeds from the race benefit various local charities.”
Students and parents have asked the District to clarify the relationship between the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and the Piedmont Unified School District. This information sheet is intended to address the most frequently asked questions about the history and status of the Turkey Trot. Nonetheless, several questions remain.
A Brief History of the Turkey Trot:
The Turkey Trot has existed in its current form for 12 years, and throughout that time has been a fundraiser sponsored and organized by the Piedmont High School Cross Country Team. It has grown from a few hundred to thousands of runners. With that growth, there has been significant growth in revenue and also organizational support.
Some former Cross Country parents worked closely with coaches to lead the effort and many community volunteers helped, but the event was primarily staffed by current Cross Country team members and their parents. In recent years, the Cross County team has not needed all the proceeds from the fundraiser, and revenue has been used to acquire exercise equipment for the benefit of the entire PHS student body.
There are organizational and up-front costs associated with running the annual Turkey Trot. These costs include, but are not limited to, the purchase of race day t-shirts, official timers, and insurance. The District has always paid these costs, either up front or from race proceeds. In recent years, proceeds from the previous year’s race were budgeted to fund the next year’s race. These funds were held in a special fund for Cross Country & Track held by the PHS Associated Student Body.
Changes in 2013:
The 2013 Turkey Trot was organized and run as it had been in past years. The District paid approximately $23,000 in upfront costs, including $14,879 in race day t-shirts. Students and parents volunteered their time to make the event a success, with the understanding that 100% of the proceeds would benefit Cross Country & Track and student athletics. The event was marketed to the community (with advertising in local and regional media) as a fundraiser to support PHS Cross Country & Track programs.
The City of Piedmont’s permit and the Turkey Trot insurance documents also state that all proceeds would benefit PHS Cross Country & Track programs and student athletics. However, to date the organizers have not delivered the proceeds of the 2013 Turkey Trot to the District for these student athletics programs.
Following the 2013 Turkey Trot, a few of the long-time organizers of the Turkey Trot independently created the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation. Although some coaches may have been aware of the creation of this entity, the Board of Education, School District administrators, PHS Boosters (the organization primarily responsible for raising funds to support student athletics) and, to the District’s knowledge, athletes and their parents, were not. The corporation (which was formed in December 2013) deposited all proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot into its own bank account.
Requests for an Accounting and for Proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot:
When the Board of Education, District administrators, and PHS Boosters were informed of the creation of the new Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, and learned that the Turkey Trot proceeds had not been delivered to the District, they initiated a series of discussions and meetings with the identified founder to resolve outstanding issues concerning the 2013 Turkey Trot.
Specifically, the District asked how much was raised by the 2013 Turkey Trot, how much was spent in race preparations and operations (with a detailed accounting of expenses), and how much remained to be remitted to the District to support the PHS Cross Country & Track programs. The requested information was promised but not provided.
In February 2014, District staff met with the some of the founders of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and were told the gross proceeds from the 2013 event were approximately $54,000. The District asked at that meeting, and immediately thereafter in writing, for a copy of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws (which specify how the Corporation intends to spend funds that it receives going forward), a complete accounting of the 2013 race proceeds and expenses, and that all proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot be paid to the District to deposit in the special fund for Cross Country & Track held by the PHS Associated Student Body.
Again, the requested information was promised but not provided.
The District continued to pursue this information and return of the 2013 Turkey Trot proceeds in numerous communications, both oral and written, with the identified founder of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation. The District has attempted to resolve this matter informally out of respect and recognition of the organizers’ long service to the community, and the identified founder’s repeated promises that the information and proceeds would be forthcoming.
As a result of the District’s efforts, the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation has since partially released funds to the District. The Corporation delivered $19,879.23, stating that it is keeping $30,000 of the 2013 proceeds to fund the 2014 Turkey Trot. The founder refused to sign an agreement to return the full amount of the 2013 Trot proceeds to the District for use in supporting “the Cross-Country and Track teams as well as exercise equipment to benefit the whole school” as stated in the City of Piedmont’s permit approval for the 2013 Turkey Trot.
Aside from the partial reimbursement of the upfront costs invested by the District, no other funding has been provided by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to support the Cross Country & Track programs and student athletics. However, students and parents should be advised that the District remains fully committed to support all student athletic programs, and the Cross County & Track programs will continue to receive the financial and program resources they need for the 2014-15 season.
As the accounting and disbursement issues concerning the 2013 Turkey Trot remain unresolved, it is unclear what the relationship will be between the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and PHS athletic programs going forward.
Relevant questions for parents, students and the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation include:
• Who should run future Turkey Trots in Piedmont? Although the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation seeks to do so, other stakeholders have not had an opportunity to present their thoughts.
• If future Turkey Trots are run by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, to whom does it intend to donate the proceeds?
• Does Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation intend to be transparent with the community regarding the proceeds and expenses of the Turkey Trot, and to whom it makes donations?
The Piedmont Unified School District remains open to facilitate a discussion among representatives of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, student athletes, parents, and PHS supporters to answer these questions to foster the long tradition of collaboration among community members, parents, and students in support of student athletics in the District.
If you have any questions, please direct them to the Office of the Superintendent at; email@example.com
September 24, 2014