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School district considering fund-raising policy

Article Date: 
15 June, 2012 (All day)

The Morgan School District is developing a new policy governing fund-raising and donations.  Not only does it put restrictions on the type of fund-raising allowed in schools, it also protects local merchants and assigns guidelines for vendors and advertisers wishing to solicit students and district employees.
The school board will conduct a second reading of the policy at their June 27 meeting.  Superintendent Ken Adams said the policy Morgan is considering is much like policies in use in the Davis and Wasatch school districts.
The new policy is meant to “create a climate of involvement and cooperation between community organizations and schools,” to enhance the quality of education. It was also drafted to protect students, parents, teachers and school administrators from commercialization and fund-raising efforts that are “exploitative, coercive, disruptive to the educational process, threatening to the health and welfare of students, or lacking in educational merit.”
The policy contemplates that all donations, cash, materials, equipment, programs and gifts be channeled through the Morgan County Education Foundation.
The policy advises school, students, student body organization and other school organizations to avoid fund-raising activities and charitable drives that would directly compete with local merchants.
In addition, participation in such activities is to remain “strictly voluntary” and without coercion, meaning grades or eligibility for participation cannot be tied to involvement in a fundraiser.  This includes classroom book clubs.
To protect instructional time and processes, the policy prohibits students from missing school to participate in fund-raising and charitable drives.  Funds, materials, equipment and programs given to the schools cannot replace or intrude on adopted curriculum or infringe upon or disturb instruction time.
Those wishing to conduct a fund-raiser or drive must get approval from a school advisor, school principal and the superintendent 30 days in advance.  The purpose of the fund-raising will need to be determined in advance, and money collected must be spent only on that purpose.  Using a foundation, district or school account, all funds raised must be receipted and expended according to standard accounting procedures.  Using these guidelines, donations would qualify for tax-exempt status under state and federal statutes and regulations.
The new policy does not allow elementary students to solicit funds door-to-door.  Any prizes or incentives intended to encourage increased sales must be approved as part of the fund raising application.
In-school fund-raising by secondary schools can only be conducted at the school facility or on school grounds.
The policy discourages charitable fund drives put on by non-district organizations “except in rare cases where such activities will have very significant educational or humanitarian value.”
As long as obligations or added costs are not implied, outside organizations are allowed to donate products carrying the organization’s name and logo.  
The policy also takes a look at the type of advertising going on inside Morgan schools.  As long as the principal approves and they meet “community standards,” advertisements from outside merchants are allowed in athletic programs, posters, calendars, and in school newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, activity programs, and similar publications. The advertisement of products such as alcohol and tobacco that are prohibited by law for sale or use by minors is strictly prohibited.
Schools will not be allowed to distribute “partisan, religious, or commercial” advertisements, fliers, bulletins, or newspapers.  Such advertisements cannot be placed on vehicles parked on school grounds, either.  However, principals can permit distribution of information regarding nonprofit community youth programs such as Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Campfire Girls, 4-H Clubs, county and municipal programs, and little league-type recreation programs.