Nov 8 2014

Turkey Trot Organization and Board of Education Reach Agreement

The Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot will continue.

Following a November 4, 2014 Closed Session to discuss litigation issues regarding the newly formed Turkey Trot organization, the School Board approved in the regular meeting an agreement with the organization by three affirmative votes. School Board member Doug Ireland made the motion, seconded by Board President Andrea Swenson and joined by Amal Smith in approving the action.  Vice President Sarah Pearson abstained because of her perception of a conflict as her daughter participates on an impacted athletic team.  Board member Rick Raushenbush voted no and read the following statement into the meeting record.

“Although I understand the desire to resolve the dispute with the individuals who created the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, I voted against the District entering into this Agreement. I did so because the PHS athletic community has never had any opportunity to provide their thoughts on who should run the Turkey Trot in the future and how its proceeds should be allocated.

Since 2003, the Turkey Trot has been run and supported by volunteers from the PHS running teams. A small number of volunteers were entrusted with the honor of organizing the race, and many student and parent volunteers made it happen. In 2013, the leadership volunteers again collected funds from the District to finance the race, and students and parents again volunteered on race day. But after the race, with no notice to the District, parents or student athletes, a few individuals formed Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and kept the race proceeds.

When the District realized that none of the race proceeds had come to the District, the District found out about the formation of Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and began efforts to obtain the funds to benefit Piedmont student athletes. At a February meeting, the District encouraged the organizers of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to meet with stakeholders–student athletes and their parents to discuss how to run the race in the future, as well as provide the 2013 race proceeds to the teams. The organizers did not agree to meet with stakeholders and did not return the race proceeds.

From February to the present day, the District has asked the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers to meet with student athletes and parents to discuss who should run the Turkey Trot.

They never have. In mid-summer, over half a year after the 2013 Turkey Trot, the organizers finally repaid some of the money advanced by the District for the 2013 race. But still student athletes and parents have not been consulted.

The Agreement states that the District agrees that the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation will now solely manage, organize and run the Turkey Trot in Piedmont. In short, the Agreement asks the District, without consultation with student athletes or parents, to agree to a significant change in how the Piedmont Turkey Trot is run and who benefits from the funds it raises.

In my view, the cardinal sin committed by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers is that they unilaterally, without notice to anyone, asserted that they controlled the Turkey Trot and would decide who benefits from the funds it raises. Perhaps student athletes and parents would agree–perhaps they would not. We don’t know because the stakeholders have never had a chance to be heard. The Agreement asks the District to join the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers in making the same mistake. I vote no.”

Rick Raushenbush, Member of the Board of Education


Draft minutes of the November 4 meeting state:

“Board Member Smith agreed with his statement and expressed concern over a very difficult situation. She commended the Board President and Superintendent on their efforts to get this matter resolved.  President Swenson expressed the hope that the Turkey Trot Corporation will reach out to parents with current runners on the PHS Cross Country and Track Teams.

“Board Member Pearson agreed with the statements of other Board members and encouraged the Turkey Trot Corporation to amend its bylaws so that the intent to support the PHS Cross Country and Track teams is more explicit.

“The agreement is available upon request to the Office of the Superintendent.

“It was moved by Mr. Ireland and seconded by Ms. Swenson to authorize the Superintendent to signed the proposed agreement as presented.

The motion passed as follows:

AYES: Swenson, Smith, Ireland

NOES: Raushenbush


ABSTAIN: Pearson (her daughter is on the teams involved)”

No members of the public spoke to the matter.  The Turkey Trot issue was not named on the agenda.

5 Responses to “Turkey Trot Organization and Board of Education Reach Agreement”

  1. The School Board approved the Agreement, and with that approval, the City Council voted to host the Trot again this year. But, what was in the Agreement? The School Board was owed the proceeds from last year’s race, $30,000. Will that amount now be paid?

    The racers and contributors participated last year with the understanding that proceeds would go to Piedmont School’s athletics. If that is not in the Agreement, then why should the School Board and the City support and endorse the Trot? Piedmont citizens need to know.

  2. As best as I can surmise from the PCA article and other news stories, the recently created Turkey Trot Non-Profit literally took over the event without communicating with any of the ongoing volunteer organizers and stakeholders.

    Likely both Council and a majority on the School Board bit the bullet for this annual feel good event so that it would go forward in 2014. I still do not see guarantees that the original recipients of the Turkey Trot will continue to benefit.

  3. The PUSD School Board and the newly incorporated Turkey Trot Board have achieved a “meeting of the minds” whereby the $30,000 owed to PUSD will be paid back within the next 14 months and the PHS Cross Country and Track & Field teams will receive fundraising profits from the turkey trot race for (at least) the next 5 years (NTE $20,000/yr). Thanks to everyone who worked toward a thoughtful resolution of this matter especially Superintendent Hubbard and School Board President Swenson for the patience and leadership they provided to make sure this wonderful event continues to provide financial support to PHS Athletes and Piedmont’s Athletic facilities. Time to register to run!

  4. Since minutes of the Nov. 4 meeting are not available on the PUSD website, would you consider publishing the statement that Board member Raushenbush read into the record?

  5. After hearing many conflicting versions of the facts I had the chance to sit down with the Turkey Trot Board over the weekend.

    There are some pluses associated with the creation of the PTT non-profit. First and foremost the Trot is now able to purchase more comprehensive insurance that not only covers the board members but also the volunteers. Secondly, the non-profit allows other members of the student body to volunteer and earn community service hours. The final uptick is that with a non-profit designation the trot can now solicit financial support from some bigger corporations. Prop 2 may have some dire financial implications for the school district. It may be that in addition to the immediate and local members of the community who have always generously donated to the Trot. We need to ask for monies from larger corporate sponsors because going forward the needs of the two teams currently sponsored increases and school revenues decrease? I don’t have a crystal ball but it seems prudent to encourage other revenue streams before we need them?

    I have a runner who is an avid XTC and Track kid. It seems reasonable to me that any additional or extra revenue earned by the Trot will be earmarked for field maintenance through the City of Piedmont. My understanding is that field maintenance is going to be the third recipient of TT funds after PHS XTC and Track. All kids benefit from good playing fields and the money is kept in Piedmont so there’s a win?

    I understand there was an agreement reached by the trot organization to pay back the school district that was acceptable to the school board so I can’t imagine it needs to be re-hashed?

    I do think the trot is an amazing community event and I hope to see it continue for many more years. I have enjoyed working the course for the last 4 years. My son is not only looking forward to running it this year but helping on Wednesday with bibs and t-shirts. It would be fantastic if the community could support the new trot organization with not only their time, but goodwill until there is a reason to do otherwise.

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