Club funding behind dispute
by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Mike Meyer resigned his position as grade 8 guidance counselor at Wake Forest Middle School June 13.
Meyer was placed on paid leave May 13, following a dispute with school officials over the way he handled the Social Organization and Service Club (SOS).
Wake County Public School System officials declined to comment on the issue, except for releasing a statement from Principal Stacy Weddle.
“The principal recognizes the value the SOS club has provided to students and the community,” the statement reads. “The status of the SOS club and its relationship to Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle are still being discussed. We are not at liberty to discuss financial issues or organizational processes as this was not a school-sponsored club.”
School system officials did not respond to a request to clarify what they meant by SOS not being school-sponsored.
The club was populated by students in grades 6-8. Fundraising was performed both on and off campus; though the funds were kept by the Wake Forest Rotary Club in a separate bank account, Rotary Treasurer Bob McCamy confirmed June 18.
Meyer is a member of the Wake Forest Rotary Club.
SOS collected tens of thousands of dollars through the annual student-run Dance Marathon and other charity events to donate to area children’s hospitals.
The event grew over the years, landing it in the PNC arena last fall, though it failed to catch on at other schools, leading to a poor turnout.
All but about $4,000 in operating expenses from the events were distributed to the charities.
“We were helping him handle the money,” said McCamy. “To my knowledge there is no indication of any impropriety.”
“Mike did a lot of good things with [SOS]. Mike’s a great guy. We can’t say enough good about him,” McCamy added.
Rotary will decide what to do with the remainder of the money after speaking to SOS parents. It will likely either be distributed back to the donors, if possible, or split up between the two hospitals, he added, noting that school officials had indicated they were disbanding the club.
Neither Meyer, nor school officials would speak to the exact nature of the dispute. But in a draft letter Meyer submitted to The Wake Forest Weekly, he indicated that the size and scope of the fundraising was an issue.
“As SOS grew, it created a lot of moving parts, including trips to present at conferences, fundraisers, sponsorship requests, professional meetings, marketing campaigns and public appearances,” he wrote. “SOS partnered with [Rotary] for the oversight of finances, insuring that no person had access to the funds without appropriate oversight.
“Perhaps understandably, the school district recently grew uncomfortable with the complexity of how big SOS has become and the time required to maintain it.”
Meyer was named the state’s counselor of the year in 2007 and 2013 North Carolina Middle School Association Person to Watch for the Central Region, though he credits the SOS students’ work at running fundraisers and charity drives as the reason.
In his letter, he thanked his supporters over the years and described how the students have learned leadership skills and the necessity of giving back to others..
“It has been a remarkable ride, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be associated with so many fine students,” he wrote. “I will be proud of their continued success and hope to stay connected.”