The Lawrence school board will consider Monday a fundraising policy that would ban door-to-door solicitation for all school district fundraising campaigns.
The board first discussed what would be the district’s first fundraising policy in December, but agreed to reconsider the draft policy after board and community members questioned its proposed ban on elementary and middle school door-to-door fundraising. Critics of the ban said then that door-to-door fundraising helped create a bond between the schools and their neighborhoods.
However, the new draft the board policy committee developed went further and banned door-to-door fundraising for all grade levels. Board president Shannon Kimball, who sits on the policy committee with board member Kelly Jones, said the tighter language was developed as best practice to protect young students from visiting homes without adult supervision and from fundraising efforts that are overcommercialized, exploitative or disruptive to the education process.
The policy would pertain to those in-house groups over which the district has direct supervision, such as schools, classes, sport teams and clubs, Kimball said. School parent teacher organizations are not bound by the policy, and it wouldn’t prevent a PTO from door-to-door fundraising, she said.
Nonetheless, Kimball said it was hoped PTOs would keep in mind the safety considerations and other concerns that prompted the proposed door-to-door policy change.
“The policy does encourage the use of best practices and collaboration with building principals,” she said. “We want to make sure all groups are working together toward mutually supportive goals.”
The revised policy was sent to schools and PTOs for review, and only one comment was returned to the policy committee about the more restrictive language, Kimball said.
Other elements of the policy are:
• Building principals, the superintendent or superintendent designee must preapprove fundraising campaigns.
• Student participation in fundraising campaigns is voluntary and there can be no consequences to a student who chooses not to be involved.
• Competition enticements are discouraged, but building principals may approve rewards or prizes to groups, classes or students participating in fundraisers.
• Online fundraising is allowed only through crowdsourcing websites the district business office reviews and approves.
• Fundraising campaigns can not be used to supplement a district employee’s salary through cash or other means, such as gift cards.
During the December discussion, Dave Cunningham, district executive director of human resources and chief legal counsel, and Kathy Johnson, executive director of finance, said the written approval was proposed because sometimes groups have raised money for items it was later learned a school didn't need. It would also allow administrators to ensure tax paperwork was filed correctly, they said.
The fundraising policy discussion will take place during the board's regular meeting, which starts at 6:15 p.m. Monday at the district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. It will follow a 5:15 p.m. work session on the 2018-2019 budget.
The district expects to receive about $4.4 million in new revenue from the school finance formula the Kansas Legislature passed this session. Johnson will update on the board on the details of the budget plan and what it means for the district's spending priorities discussed at board meetings last month.