New Fundraising Policy

On Monday, the DeKalb Board of Education discussed the administration’s proposal for a Fundraising Policy.
School communities often have fundraising activities to provide extra materials and opportunities for their students. Most schools in DeKalb have parent led organizations like a PTA, PTO, Foundation, or a combination of these organizations that raise funds and supplement their school’s educational programs.
It is a good idea to understand the tax status of the organizations that operate within your school. There are different federal and state rules and regulations for different types of entities. For example, is your PTO and/or Foundation a 501(c)(3) under the tax code? Does your school raise funds without the structure of a separate legal entity?
The Policy that was presented to the Board this past Monday was geared towards those school communities that are fundraising without an organization that has the legal and regulatory structure of a 501(c)(3) or something similar. The administration is concerned about these fundraising activities and associated liability for the district.
Unfortunately, this policy lacked clarity as it appeared to lump all fundraising organizations together. There was a lengthy discussion at the board meeting. I made it perfectly clear that many provisions in this policy are simply not applicable or enforceable for the 501(c)3 organizations that operate at many schools. The Board asked for a rewrite to clearly delineate how this policy is applied to various organization types. I expect the revised policy will be rewritten and will not come to the board before July.

.pdf link icon  Proposed Fundraising Policy – Regulation KEB-R(1)
Proposed Fundraising Policy – Regulation KEB-R(1)

11 responses to “New Fundraising Policy

  1. Stan, thanks for posting this. I am very disappointed at how poorly written the proposed regulation is. One would think that DCSD’s Legal Affairs Division could do a better job in drafting policy and regulation.
    The policy should clearly state which types of organizations it applies to, especially Booster Clubs and Foundations. The policy includes the phrase “booster club” but the regulation does not. So does it apply, or not?

  2. Thomas Hogan, Chamblee City Council

    Please update in July. It would seem obvious to me that this policy is for non -501c3 situations, and I would be concerned that ‘oversight’ of a 501c3 may endanger the 501c3 status (autonomy?)

  3. So, if you have a 501c3 this policy won’t apply? I don’t like the way it’s written. This was the first year that DeKalb asked us for a detailed summary of all money PTA gave school. I’m not comfortable the direction this seems to be headed.

  4. Lauren Shankman

    sent via Facebook
    Please keep us posted so we can understand how this impacts the Evansdale Education Foundation which is a 501 c3 and joint efforts with Evansdale Elementary PTA

  5. Just saying

    @ Rouchell, I agree the district needs to outline how this impacts organizations that are a 501c3 and it needs to be more specific for booster clubs , especially in high school. The district also needs to give principals the support needed to stand up to organizations that may not be following the district’s policy, after all it’s is the principal’s job that will be on the line if the district’s policy is not followed.

  6. Adrienne Duncan

    Is it a coincidence that this new policy change came about right after the announcement of the “All Fore One” golf fundraiser where all Dunwoody cluster schools are united mutually and speaking with one voice? That timing seems very convenient. The original version of the policy would cut off similar initiatives of shared strength in all parts of DeKalb.

  7. Neither the draft policy nor the regulation mentions “501c3” status. It seems to me that this is a crucial distinction between school support groups, and DCSD’s legal team should have been sure that the draft policy and regulation clearly stated whether it applies to 501c3 entities or not.
    Please flood your BOE representatives with questions or concerns about these changes. Stan is only 1 vote on the BOE. The others need to hear from you if you have questions or concerns.

  8. Julia LeDoyen

    1) The requirement to spend down funds in 18 months or the District can re-purpose them forbids mid- to long-term planning.
    2) This proposal puts a lot of responsibility on the principal to approve the plans/purpose. Principals are already time-taxed, and to consider at the high school or middle school level that every fund raiser for every interest group be pre-approved by the administration is suffocating.
    3) Crowdfunding is a new issue that may need closer oversight by local administrators, just to protect the interests of a school community that doesn’t want to get hammered multiple times through the year for financial support. Perhaps this issue should be addressed at the local level where school and community leaders have a specific understanding of how their community behaves and reacts to requests for financial support.

  9. Marshall Orson, DeKalb Board of Education

    The proposed policy and regulations are borne from good intentions–but they need your input and modifications. The goal is to bring some consistency and accountability while also modifying what is permissible (e.g. I have pushed to recognize crowdfunding as an accepted means of fundraising). I believe we need to leave much of the decision-making to principals (I know they are overworked but better to leave such decisions at the schoolhouse than elsewhere). We have pushed this out to 60 days for Board consideration to give sufficient time for input. We encourage groups to come together and give us comprehensive recommendations that can be endorsed by multiple groups rather than lots of individual comments which will be harder to process. In the end, we want a policy that works, is fair, that provides proper accountability and that is modernized to allow us to take advantage of modern fundraising methods.

  10. Stan Jester

    Interesting. You can now go to eBoard and comment directly on the proposed policy.

  11. Elizabeth Wong Mark

    Stan, It appears that prohibiting door to door bans such activities as Sally Foster or magazine sales or fruit sales Why?