A policy about asking the public to help education


Teachers cannot crowd-fund without principal’s approval


The District 56 Board of Trustees has approved a policy disallowing teachers’ crowdfunding efforts without prior approval of a principal.

Based on a recommendation of the SC School Boards Association, the policy was approved May 20 at the board regular monthly meeting. The session was moved up a week because of Memorial Day (fourth Monday), and the next school board meeting will be the fourth Monday of June (no meeting in July).

“Staff members who fail to comply with this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, as appropriate,” the policy says.

The superintendent must approve in advance the crowdfunding platform to be used by a teacher. The criteria for his approval are:

-- “All funds or materials donated through the platform must go directly to the district or school administration and not to the individual staff member who initiated the donation request.

-- “The platform must have safeguards in place to prevent misuse of funds and/or misappropriation of materials.

-- “Administrative fee, if any, collected by the platform must be reasonable and appropriate.

-- “District banks information will not be disclosed, and its release should not be required as a condition to receive donations to the platform.”

The policy is code DDB. The administrative rule is code DDB-R. Last Monday was the first of two required readings.

“The principal and or the Superintendent or his/her designee may withhold approval for any crowdfunding proposal for any reason,” the administrative rule says.

A provision will be added that the principal and superintendent (or designee) will keep a record of all crowdfunding proposals, including those that are disapproved.

Board member Tammy Stewart said the policy should state the reason for the crowdfunding effort and the amount of money being solicited. She said, in her experience, many times in schools, teachers are asked for the e-mail addresses of their relatives and friends to be targeted by these solicitations.

“I want to know the money amount before I give them grandma’s e-mail address,” she said.

The form used by principals to consider these requests is very specific, the board was told.

The D56 policy was amended to reflect purpose AND amount (not just purpose or amount). Money collected above the target amount will go into the school’s general fund.

In D56, crowdfunding request information is maintained in the Office of Operations.

“Any materials purchased or donated as the result of a district-approved crowdfunding campaign are the property of the district,” the policy says. The person requesting the materials retains use of those materials until no longer employed by the district.

“At that time,” the policy says, “the materials will remain the property of the school to be transferred to another classroom and/or teacher as appropriate.”

The administrative rule contains 16 bullet-points more fully explaining how crowdfunding and the approval process will work – one says the approval process is designed to ensure that crowdfunding efforts do not, “violate student privacy by including information such as student names; pictures of students’ faces; descriptions of the school’s student population as disabled, in poverty, as English Learners, etc.; or statements that infer the district is unable to meet the needs of the students it serves.”

The superintendent “may terminate any crowdfunding project at any time for any reason,” the rule says.

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