SCS Alumni Newsletter Heading
 Volume V Issue I Spring - 2002 
Straight From the Gavel
By Terry Dermody, President

Last fall I declared in this column that the Association had "Come of Age". The most significant event that generated this sense of confidence and optimism was the election of a permanent Board of Directors which had taken place in July. 1 realized then that the Association was in a position to develop a strategic plan for growth and to undertake new initiatives which had been placed on hold pending the elections. Since that time your duly elected Board of Directors has been focus-ing their efforts on the various issues confronting the Association. Several important proposals before the Board recently culminated in decisions by the Directors, which I think important to share with you.

You may have noticed on the Alumni Weekend registration form in this issue of "Reflections" and in various places on the Website, that the dues structure has been changed. The Board of Directors passed a resolution at the April board meeting raising the membership dues.

The new dues structure is $10 per person for an annual membership, except for the senior level (65 and over) which remains at $5. The decision to institute a lifetime membership level has been placed on hold for the time being. The increase becomes effective with your next renewal. If you are not sure when your membership expires, check the mailing label on this newsletter which indicates the expiration date. If no date is shown then it means that you are not a paid member and we would welcome your membership. If you sent the $5.00 membership dues for your renewal prior to this announcement, the increase will not become effective for you until 2003.

There is one point which I want to make perfectly clear. The Association recognizes special needs and circumstances. We want all Alumni to become members. Therefore, NO PERSON will be DENIED membership in the Association because of their inability to pay due to financial circumstances. If the membership dues would create a financial burden for you or someone you know, simply complete the membership application and indicate that you have special financial circumstances and you will be enrolled as a member.

The decision to increase dues was not casually undertaken by the Board of Directors. For several years suggestions for increasing the dues to a more appropriate level had been advanced by the membership. The $5 dues level was established several years ago, simply as a means to cover the cost of mailing the All Class Reunion Luncheon notices and has remained constant ever since, despite the dramatic growth. Even as the Association was growing and expanding the services and activities, it operated with limited finances generated by the $5.00 dues. On several occasions we were not even sure if we would have sufficient funds to continue.

After the elections, a finance committee was formed and assigned the task of reviewing the finances and dues structure of the Association. The goal was to establish a dues structure that is fair and reasonable and will assure the financial integrity of the Association for future endeavors. To gauge the opinions of the membership, a poll was conducted. Approximately one third of the paid membership participated in the poll and over 90% supported the increase.

To give you a sense of the support I have included a sampling of those who registered favorable responses:

"The proposed amounts seem to be very well within a range of an organization this size and with your aspirations." Class member '51

"The SCSAA has been doing an excellent job and should be supported in this continuing effort." Class members '47 &'52

"I think raising the dues is a necessity and seem fair & just." Class member'57

"I'm for the increase. The dues were too low." Class member'61

"I fully support the increase. I've been amazed at what we have been getting for $5 per year." Class member'62

"Have no problem as long as there is a provision for those on a fixed income." Class member'64

"Actually $10 isn't a bad fee for membership in an organization of any kind and SCSAA is definitely not your ordinary organization." Class member'64

"In my opinion the $5 dues was ridiculously low. The $10 fee is still very low for the value received." Class member `64

"It cost money to be successful and each year it gets better and better. The $10 fee is a great idea."Class member'65

"In my opinion $10 is dirt cheap." Class member '66

"I do not object to the dues change. I have sometimes wondered how the Association does so much with so little." Class member'66

"Membership in the SCSAA is definitely worth twice the price what it was three years ago when it started." Class member '72

"We have no issue with the increase to $10. Sounds reasonable." Class members '76 & '77

"Seems fair to me. I see no problem with $10 annual dues." Class members of '85 & '88

As part of the due diligence, we conducted a survey of other organizations and alumni associations, particularly the Oneonta Alumni Association of which Mr. "Bud" Pirone is the president and founder. Mr. Pirone, was a history teacher in Sidney during the early 1960's and later became principal of the Oneonta High School. He was gracious enough to discuss their finances with us and the reasoning behind their dues structure. He explained to us that they set the dues level at $10 from the onset and had never considered a $5 level. It was their opinion that $10 was an amount the majority of people could afford and in most cases was less than other similar organizations charged their. members. It was their position that, at the $10 level, they could gen-erate sufficient funds to satisfy their financial obliga-tions without being too dependent on additional fund raising activities, and provide a cushion for growth and expansion. It became clear that they adopted the right approach. They have a high level of membership reten-tion and have enjoyed a consistent growth in new mem-bers. Mr. Pirone also told us that they have no intention of increasing the dues from the $10 level and I can state unequivocally that our Board is resolved and committed to the same end. It should be mentioned, that the Oneonta Alumni Association has a similar policy not to deny membership for anyone who cannot pay the full amount.

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