Yesterday, the Auditor of State (AOS) issued Bulletin 2023-004, providing guidance for school districts related to a new law requiring cash payment options at school events.  

The law, Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3313.5319, became effective on Oct. 3, 2023. It applies to any “qualifying school,” including any school district that elects to participate in athletic events regulated by an interscholastic conference or organization that regulates interscholastic conferences.  

The law requires that a qualifying school must permit any person to pay cash for a ticket to a school-affiliated event. A “school-affiliated event” is an athletic event, play, musical, or other school-related event that a district “conducts, sponsors, or participates in” and for which a district charges admission to attend. It does not include any event or activity that is conducted in a public facility that is leased by a professional sports team or a privately owned facility.  

If the school does not accept a cash payment from any person who want to purchase a ticket to the event on the date of the event, and the person demonstrates that they have enough cash to cover the full cost of the ticket, the school must provide the person a free ticket if there are tickets available.  

The new law also requires that a school that offers concessions at a school-affiliated event have at least one location where a person can pay cash for concessions. If concessions are sold on multiple floors, the school must have at least one location on each floor that accepts cash payments.  

These requirements apply to community schools (RC 3314.03(A)(11)(d)) and STEM schools (RC 3326.11) as well as school districts.   

The AOS Bulletin 2023-004 provides guidance to school districts for the proper handling of cash receipts at school-affiliated events. The first part of the bulletin covers Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) events. The bulletin notes that, even though OHSAA is not a qualifying school, it has elected to accept cash at the gate when its tournament events are held at schools. The bulletin provides additional guidance on how these receipts should be handled. OHSAA has also prepared a training video explaining related procedures and instructions.  

AOS Bulletin 2023-004 also provides information about internal controls over cash receipts related to any cash sales including cash sales for athletic events and non-athletic events such as musicals and plays. The bulletin includes recommendations for districts when handling cash, keeping records of any free tickets provided as required by RC 3313.5319, and creating, reviewing and customizing revenue control policies.  

OSBA’s division of legal services is continuing to monitor resources issued by various state agencies regarding changes to the laws governing school districts that were included in House Bill 33, the 2024-25 biennial budget bill. Keep checking the Legal Ledger Blog for more information or call the division at (855) 672-2529. 

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 10/6/2023