Cruiser boosters seek to bring back bingo

Bingo is back, if Groveport Madison High School’s athletic boosters get their way.

At the Oct. 10 meeting of the Groveport Madison Local Board of Education, it was announced that the major money-maker is set to return after several years’ hiatus.

"Athletic booster club president Rob Schoonover has had a successful year so far," commented Superintendent Scott McKenzie. "While volunteer numbers aren’t anywhere near where we want them to be, there has still been a tremendous surge in volunteer participation."

In the recent past, McKenzie explained, Schoonover handled most of the booster duties with a very small band of active and dedicated volunteers.

"But thanks to a concerted effort on booster officers, the athletic director and the coaches, Mr. Schoonover is getting a lot more of the volunteer help needed to support the athletic programs in our district," McKenzie continued.

After seeing volunteer efforts increase significantly, Schoonover said, the boosters have decided to try to bring bingo back on a weekly basis.

"People keep coming up to me and asking me when we are going to reopen," he said, noting it was discontinued after the implementation of split sessions several years ago.

He told the board the athletic boosters plan to apply for a license to conduct weekly games from 7-10 p.m. Wednesdays in the cafeteria and commons area at Groveport Madison High School, with all proceeds generated from the event benefiting athletic programs at the high school.

"We could deposit anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 a night," he said, noting that the boosters hope to bring back a $5,000 scholarship that was awarded to student athletes in the past.

The boosters plan to apply to the state for a $500 license to conduct bingo games and a $2,500 license to sell "instant" tickets, which Schoonover said are the most profitable part of the fundraiser.

Schoonover said one caveat of the plan to bring bingo back to Groveport Madison High School is that according to state law, no students under the age of 18 will be permitted in the building when bingo is occurring. This may mean adjusting schedules of other after-school activities, he warned. Getting enough volunteers will be another issue, he noted, because 10 to 15 volunteers will be needed each week. They have already made plans to pay for a special duty police officer to provide security for five to six hours each week, and still have their bingo supplies in storage, although Schoonover said they need to look into purchasing "electronic bingo" supplies instead.

Athletic Director Mike George commended Schoonover for his efforts.

"He does not have kids at the high school any longer," he said. "All he does is so appreciated. We can’t say that enough."

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