Category Archives: Board Policy

DeKalb Schools – New Fund Raising Policy (KEB)

At the May School Board Meeting, a revision to the fund raising board policy (KEB) and proposed administrative regulation were presented to lay on the table for stakeholder feedback.
The administration received many comments on the originally proposed policy. Each comment was reviewed and considered when revising the policy and administrative regulation.
The administration is requesting that the revised fund raising policy and administrative regulation be resubmitted and lay on the table in July and be considered for final approval at the August Board Meeting. This will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to review and comment further on the most recently proposed policy and regulation.
DeKalb Schools hopes to create equity by providing an avenue for elementary schools to also engage in fundraising activities and to limit the potential financial liability from external groups by introducing a regulation providing oversight to fundraising activities that occur on school property.

Fundraising Guidelines
Public Comments – Questions/Actions Taken
Complete Proposed Policy KEB
Complete Proposed Administrative Regulation KEB
Comments on the policy and regulation will continue to be collected at

Fundraising Guidelines
The following guidelines shall govern all fundraising activities. As set forth herein, it is the responsibility of the Principal, Regional Superintendent, Superintendent or designee to ensure that fundraising activities at his/her school, at the central office, or on behalf of the District is conducted in accordance with the Board policy and regulation. If funds, in custody of the school and raised for a designated use, are not spent within an 18 month period, those funds may be used for another similarly related purpose benefiting the school, department or District, as appropriate. The 18 month period may be extended with written approval from the principal.
1. School Fundraisers – School fundraisers are fundraising efforts at elementary, middle or high schools which are planned, managed, and executed by school administration, faculty, and staff. These fundraisers are by recommendation of the school council and approval by the principal. For purposes of this policy, school fundraisers do not include fundraisers by support organizations.
2. Donations – Donations are gifts or bequests made to a school or the District. All donations must be made in accordance with Board Policy DFK: Gifts and Bequests and LEC Booster Organizations
3. Funds raised by foundations/outside organizations – These are funds raised by support organizations and/or foundations that partner with a school or the District to raise funds.
a. The fundraising activities and budget of student organizations and classes must be approved by the Principal.
b. All student organizations must be authorized by the Principal and sponsored by a faculty member. All student organizational activities must be conducted on a voluntary basis and must not interfere or conflict with or distract from instructional time.
c. The school must maintain custody of the funds in keeping with district protocol. All funds collected must be accounted for through bookkeeping procedures prescribed by the Director of Audits & Compliance of the DeKalb County School District and the Principal of the school. The bookkeeping procedures to be prescribed shall include receipts, deposits, and issuance of checks, encumbrances, and purchasing.
Elementary – Fundraising activities, hosted by the school, recommended by the school council and approved by the principal must be school-based and be held on school property unless approved in writing by the Regional Superintendent Requests to hold fundraising activities at another location must also include all relevant contracts, Memorandums of Understanding or other documentation for use of the proposed venue. If a school has no functioning school council, then the Regional Superintendent will review with the school principal prior to approval.
Middle and High – Fundraising activities hosted by the school may be held on or off school property. However, fundraising activities at another location must also include all relevant contracts, Memorandums of Understanding or other documentation for use of the proposed venue.
Applies to fundraising efforts which are planned, managed, and executed by school and support groups, which include: PTAs, PTSAs, booster clubs, other parent support groups, 501(c)(3) organizations and community support groups such as foundations.
Fundraising activities may be conducted by registered support groups such as Parent Teacher Associations, booster clubs etc. All support group hosted fundraisers on school property are subject to sections 4(a) and 4(b) of this regulation.
1. The organizations must be registered with the school and approved by the Principal in writing and exist to enhance the curriculum goals of the school. If a school has no functioning school council, then only the principal’s written approval is required.
2. The organization’s program of activities and budget must be planned in conjunction with and approved in writing by the Principal.
3. Activities must not conflict with or detract from instructional time.
4. All items purchased by support groups and donated to the school for use by the students and/or faculty become the property of the DeKalb County Board of Education and must be entered on the inventory of the school.
5. Elementary school students are prohibited from participating in door-to-door, fund-raising activities sponsored by the school. Those efforts sponsored by support groups must provide adult supervision during these activities.
6. Deficit financing and deferred payments are STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
7. Support groups may partner with schools but must maintain custody of funds raised until expended or donated.

Public Comments – Questions/Actions Taken

For the last two months, the administration has Collected Public Input on the proposed policy. They collected and addressed each comment in a  Summary of Public Comments. Here are the highlights
Stanley – The revisions seems to remove the building level leader (Principal) from having the authority to control the fundraising activities for their school. Action Taken: Regulation revised to have school level approval.
Weatherly – No approval process should hinder the PTA from doing their job or stalling school support efforts. Action Taken: Doesn’t apply to PTA
Ann – The PTSA is very concerned with the provision of the proposed regulation that “All fundraising activities benefiting a school shall be approved by the Regional Superintendent” – Action Taken: Removed
Henderson Mill ES PTA- Issue with fundraising only on school property. Allow Principals to oversee and manage funding. Action Taken: Language has been revised
Jodi – It is unclear exactly what fundraisers fall under “parent support groups” regulations versus “School-based fundraising activities.” Most elementary schools have some version of a book fair. Action Taken: Support groups are only impacted by this regulation if the fundraiser is held at a school.
Jodi – Many elementary schools conduct an auction event. Alcohol is usually served. – Action Taken: If the PTA’s school host these off of school grounds, then OK.
Thomas – We should let individual schools, programs, PTSA groups, and principals work out their own policies. – Action Taken: This policy only applies to school sponsored events.
Sharon – Fundraising plans should be managed at the local level. Schools need flexibility to adjust plans as needed. – Action Taken: This policy only applies to school sponsored events.

Enforcing Zoning, Building, and Other Ordinances

What authority does a city or county have in enforcing its zoning, building, and other ordinances with respect to temporary and permanent building on school property?

The question of how different governmental entities operating within one jurisdiction with respect to zoning and all other ordinances became settled law, or stare decisis, with the rulings for two court cases.
Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning vs. Bibb County School District – This case set the precedent that governmental entities – in this case a school district – can use their property for their governmental purposes. They are exempt from the rules of zoning so long as the property is used for their governmental purposes.
City of Decatur vs. DeKalb County – This case set the precedent that zoning powers and “supplementary powers” are two separate powers that can accrue to both cities and counties. While a governmental entity operates within the jurisdiction of another governmental entity, they are exempt from zoning but they are not exempt from the supplementary powers. Supplementary powers are those powers that a city or county can use to regulate building and maintenance on a property. This case set the precedent that governmental entities must follow all ordinances of the local jurisdiction outside of zoning.

Does OCGA exempt the school district from any other building regulations, codes and ordinances? Jennifer Hackemeyer was the General Counsel for the Georgia Department of Education for 10 years. She is currently the Chief Legal Officer for DeKalb Schools and helps us dig into this.

Jennifer Hackemeyer
Chief Legal Officer, DeKalb County School District

Based on the decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals in City of Decatur v. DeKalb County, the District is exempt from zoning ordinances but is subject to regulations regarding state fire safety standards (O.C.G.A. §25-2-12(a)(2)) and the Erosion and Sedimentation Act (O.C.G.A. §12-7-1 et. seq.). O.C.G.A. § 25-2-12 through 14 have specific requirements for fire safety for buildings used as school buildings.
In addition, Georgia’s education code requires that the GDOE common minimum facility requirements for each public schools that must include: those provisions of law or state board policy on matters that related to “fire and physical safety; sanitation and health, including temperature and ventilation; minimum space, size and configuration for the various components of the instructional program; and construction stability, quality and suitability for intended uses.” See O.C.G.A. §20-2-261(a).
Additionally, GDOE guidelines provide that temporary educational facilities must meet all applicable state and local building codes and must have a separate certificate of occupancy for each building.
The District is required to obtain building, electrical, and plumbing (if applicable) permits. Inspections are completed by the local authorities and the Fire Marshal’s Office, prior to obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the local municipality.