San Diego

Parent Files Complaint Over Torrey Pines High School ‘Donation' Request

Even though Torrey Pines High School is public, one parent says there is pressure to donate hundreds of dollars to the school's athletic's department.

An investigation has been launched into the request by a San Diego-area high school athletic program for hundreds of dollars of donations in order for students to participate in a sport.

The superintendent of the high school issued a statement saying the donations are voluntary and not mandatory.

Torrey Pines High School parent, Wendy Gumb, has made it her personal mission to look into how the school's athletics department spends its money.

The public school often asks parents for donations to cover some of the costs of sports programs, Gumb said. Even though the donations are not mandatory, she said several parents feel pressured to donate.

"The money that they are asking us to donate into these public school programs, where is the money really going?" asked Gumb. "What I found out is that the district can't answer the questions about where the money is going."

In an e-mail sent to parents in February, a minimum donation of $696 was asked to offset the costs of the school's baseball program. Gumb filed a complaint and spoke to the San Dieguito School Board about the practice months ago.

An investigation is currently underway.

Gumb's son is a junior at Torrey Pines HS. He's not currently on the baseball team, but he did previously play for the Torrey Pines Falcons.

"All I want is accountability. I don't want anyone to lose their job or get in trouble," said Gumb. "All I'm doing is asking questions. It seems like if you ask questions, you might rock the boat or get yourself into trouble. Get deemed the trouble maker. I think it's important to teach our kids to ask questions."

In a statement sent to NBC 7, Superintendent Eric Dill highlighted that donations are just that - donations that are voluntary and not mandatory.

"We appreciate the generous support of our parents for all of our academic, art, and athletic programs," wrote Dill. "A so-called 'pay-to-play' culture would only tarnish and dilute our teams' outstanding records."

The superintendent said he cannot comment on the open investigation, but changes will be made if needed.

"If findings reveal any inappropriate solicitation, said Dill, "We will take all necessary steps to correct behavior and improve our practices."

The school board is scheduled to give details on the investigation on June 15.

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