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Reviewed Date: May 27, 2020
MTAS was asked if it would be proper for a city to make an appropriation to the local public high school for the purchase of band uniforms.
FROM: Donna Leydorf, Legal Consultant
DATE: October 26, 2000
RE: Band Uniforms
You asked if it would be proper for a city to make an appropriation to the local public high school for the purchase of band uniforms. You indicated the school does not have the funds to buy the uniforms, and the feeling in the community is that it would foster school spirit and community involvement if the band had proper uniforms. I believe it would be proper to appropriate funds for this purpose.
There is a statute that discusses municipal appropriations to nonprofit organizations. See §6-54-111, Tennessee Code Annotated, a copy of which I’m attaching for the Town’s review. There is another section which deals with municipal school budgets, §§ 6-56-204 and 6-56-205, Tennessee Code Annotated, which I’m also attaching. Note that §6-56-205 states that “the governing body shall not make any appropriations in excess of estimated available funds, except to provide for an actual emergency . . .” Please caution the Board about this condition for school appropriations.
The short answer to your question is that the Board may appropriate money to pay for band uniforms for the public high school, if there are sufficient funds on hand. I don’t think having band uniforms would constitute an “emergency” which would warrant the expenditure of funds over the amount of money available.
Let me know if you need additional assistance in this matter.