Attendees: Amy Lenox, Betsy Johnson, Carolyn Stanley, Connie Peterson, Debbie Romero, Ellen Epstein, Fred Wiesinger, Jeff Lowell, Kerri Patterson, Lisa Shank, Marie Telecky, Michelle Ball, Michelle Deerkop
Recap of 4/18/2017 Board Meeting
Jeff presented committee’s recommendations to the Board. Carolyn, Ellen, Jess and Michelle D also attended the meeting and contributed to the conversation. The Board requested a follow-up report from the committee, which is today’s objective. For Board Meeting Minutes, go to https://go.boarddocs.com/wa/bsd405/Board.nsf/Public.
John Harrison, BSD Executive Director, stopped by to thank the committee and show his appreciation for members taking time to grapple with complex donation issues. Vast areas make-up donations and the surrounding issues can be broad and challenging on all sides of the donations process. The Board was clear they wanted broad based community input and you have provided that. Thank for work and your due diligence.
Work on Requests from the Board
The committee reviewed the four recommendations presented at the Board Meeting (see attached) and a brief discussion was held. Recommendation #2 (regarding 2151P – Interscholastic Sports) and Recommendation 4 (regarding 2320P – Field Trips) required little conversation at the meeting as they involve areas outside of Donations. Jeff will continue to work closely with appropriate staff to ensure any change in language to these procedures ties back to the work that has been done by the committee. Most of the meeting’s conversation involved Recommendations #1 (regarding 6114P – Donations) and #3 (regarding 6102P – Fundraising), where there were differences of opinion and some frustration.
The committee reviewed the Board’s requests (italicized below) to be included in a follow-up report and a lively discussion was held. Initially, the Board called for a large group to recommend clear donation guidelines and shared expectations, which included alignment between various organizations and BSD, reporting processes and equity. However, further guiding questions asked of the committee did not align with the initial charge. Though the group spent considerable time and effort researching and discussing all questions to ensure constructive answers, they felt the guiding (or underlying) problem was lacking. In addition, the broad scope of the charge/questions coupled with the requested size of the committee was challenging. The group met with legitimate concerns about how the process functions and over several months offered a variety ways, covering many aspects, of how it could be improved. However, some topics/recommendations were presented at check-ins with the Policy Committee, like inclusion of equity and looking at other districts’ policies, but their follow-up questions seemed to indicate a request to change the direction/focus. Perhaps it would have been better for them to have made a revised draft and asked the committee to provide specific feedback, ensuring a more narrow scope of work/recommendations.
Jeff concurred with the group that writing Policy and Procedure can be a complex and challenging process. To help put things in perceptive, they have been working on revising a different policy for almost 10 months. We appreciate the amount and quality of work you have put into this.
Board’s requests (italicized):
We are looking for a more complete summary of the research that was done and the discussions that were conducted around the questions that were in the board’s charge to the committee. It sounds as if there were some detailed discussions above several items and if there were a way to summarize items that had some level of consensus and questions that were left open, that would be great. These pieces of information are exactly what we need when making policy decisions – whether such info gets covered in a policy or a procedure is irrelevant as the info itself helps guide the authoring of both. And whatever compilation of information is assembled should be reviewed and generally agreed to by the advisory group. For example, it sounded as if the committee investigated the idea of distinguishing among different types of donating organizations and concluded that they would prefer that we not set different requirements of different organizations but that they uncovered some complications with this particularly when considering donations from large corporations vs. PTSA/booster orgs vs. small groups of parents because all are not 501c3’s and so do not have the same requirements of them. Additionally, they called out that some requirements of groups needed to be specific enough to be useful (e.g., 990’s don’t necessarily show all donations so would be insufficient to count as a financial record that would be of worth in a district donor “audit” or checkpoint of sorts). Another example might be that the group did not reach consensus about whether or not requiring organizations supporting a smaller group make a percent of their donations available to the larger group could work, but they did identify some very specific concerns about trying to do such a thing, such as some support organizations simply folding and some opportunities being shut down to students, something that they did not want to see happen.
- That last example, “Another example might be that the group did not reach …” – no one liked that idea. That was very clear. (consensus)
- Documents we will provide in the follow-up report
- Meeting minutes – best record of areas of committee consensus and not consensus
- Sample policies/list of other districts – broad-based survey of districts that were similar to our own, as well as intentionally not similar ($, size, geo); a spectrum was helpful including:
- Everett School District
- Lake Washington School District
- Mercer Island School District
- Seattle Public Schools
- Tacoma School District
- Palo Alto Unified School District
- Montgomery County Public Schools
- Issaquah School District
- Northshore School District
- Farfax County Schools
- Provo City School District
- Binder – sections
- 6114 with edits (dropped and left open because redirected with other questions at check-in). Include the back-and-forth documents (the two or three Word documents with edits that speak for themselves)
- Requirements for recognized groups. Note: no committee agreement/consensus on this, important for them to see.
- Donations for individuals – Include RCW, WIA, OSPI (Carolyn to send info and links of resources used in her research). Note: this is an open discussion point, not asked to draw consensus on this topic. Pending law will have an effect on individuals directly affected by donations.
- List of Donations (top 50 were reviewed by committee)
- Surcharge (consensus is resounding No!) Could surplus be used for a similar item (e.g. future field trip)? That is very different question than a surcharge or “tax.”
- Equity – NOTE: committee consensus on the idea of putting in the policy, but not a consensus on the definition
- Additional Questions/Areas of Concern
- Donation forms? – Transparency around large money donations and communication
- Include statement that District can say no to any donation – consensus is to add to Policy
- Essential items – Consensus to use essential vs need and essential to be defined
- Other Policy/Procedure
- Fundraising for individual
- Individual fees vs Group donations
- Fees needs to be defined
- Issue with donation and match used to cover fees
- Refunds: How to refund extra funds? Who gets the refund if some gave extra to cover someone else?
- Scholarship: What is/isn’t? Who pays/how pay?
- Group collecting fees then donating to schools
- Conflict of Interest – couldn’t be addressed at this point
- Restricted grant vs donations (PTSA, others)
If the group has any recommendations about a follow up committee, it is welcome to provide those as well.
- Work directly with appropriate Board Member(s) to make sure all on same page.
- Meet with appropriate Board Member(s) the first meeting, at minimum, to ensure clear objective(s).
- Allow stakeholders input prior to final recommendations to the Board.
- Smaller group and diverse group. Though the size of this committee (20+) presented some challenges, the group’s diversity was important and beneficial.
- Include representation from all aspects – staff, community, BSF, parent support groups, athletics, activities, etc. and other stakeholders.
- Establish a mechanism that allows committee members to communicate back to their constituents.
- Identify related policies/procedures and any work being done.
- Current members interested in the follow-up committee are Carolyn, Lisa, Jerry, Michelle D. and Ellen. Marie and Kerri should also be considered.
If you (Jeff) personally have some learning from your work with this committee, in terms of policy related content or in terms of logistics (committee composition, clarity of direction, checkpoints, etc.) or otherwise, we would love to have that as well.
Jeff will provide feedback directly with input from above items. He will also contact the Board to determine the format they would like this follow-up report presented (paper, electronic, checklist, etc.)
Close and Thanks
Members expressed their thanks and gratitude for:
- Such a diverse group of people who care
- How much the committee members have taught me
- Appreciation of the committee, it’s members, and what I learned
- Everyone’s engagement
- Hearing different perspectives
- Enjoyed interacting with people I did not know and understanding the policy better
- Learned a ton, and about how much is changing
Members hope to pass along a message including:
- Equity frequently came up as part of the conversation
- Organizations should not be violating rules. Booster clubs and other support organizations should not have free rein, especially when it is the students that are penalized for the club’s actions.
- Take a look at need of donations. Before accepting the donation, determine if there is really a need for it?
- Issue is also one of training people involved with Donations. Educate those that work with donations.
- Looking at other district Policy and Procedure was helpful, even those districts that are not similar to BSD
- Ask for specific issues for the committee to review or consider – much easier if specific questions (i.e. Were certain procedures not followed? Where could we tighten this policy or procedure? How could we to prevent something from happening again?)
- The group should get the real questions and exact areas to consider change. What are they really worried about?
- Look at both sides of the coin – as a community what do we want for our children and as an organization does it have the same intent? Ensure you are both working towards the same end goal, with no preconceived notions, to obtain what is in the best interest of all
Members were again thanked for their time, expertise and passion and for representing what is best about our school district and community – a diverse and caring group people determined to make sure we continually focus on our students and help ensure they have a great experience. Whether the Board reacted with cheers and fireworks or not, the final product will be better in the end which is what counts the most. We really appreciate you seeing it through to the end.
Next Meeting: No Future meetings required.
Donation Policy Review Committee Recommendations
The Donations Policy Review Committee respectfully submits the following recommendations to the Bellevue School District Board of Directors for their review.
Recommendation #1: That District ‘requirements’ of organizations that donate to or partner with us to support athletics and activities programs be captured in Administrative Procedure 6114P: Donations. It is our recommendation that a smaller committee complete the remaining work.
Rationale for Recommendation #1
Our committee concluded that providing clear guidance and education regarding the reason, rationale, and mechanics of donations for athletics and activities to parent support groups is a prudent course of action. Committee members communicated their belief that their own organizations would benefit from detailed policy and procedural language that creates a framework to guide parent support groups.
Our committee believes that additional work is necessary to provide a complete recommendation on how to capture District ‘requirements’ of organizations in writing and recommends that a smaller committee completes the work of gathering further information and completing updates to the District’s procedures. Recommended updates include:
- An identification of (potential) district requirements/guidelines for donations that work for all organizations and individuals
- A determination of what is meant by equity in terms of the acceptance of donations
- A definition of essential items for those programs with a curricular and co (or extra) curricular component
- A determination if and/or how exceptions would/should be made to allow for an organization to provide essential items to programs
- A determination if there are additional considerations (outside of Title IX) when accepting in-kind donations
- A definition of fees and of an organized purchase
- A determination how the procedure include language that details a committee recommendation – that the District will manage financial aid (scholarship) funds to assist with financial aid needs of some families specific to athletic and activity programs. This would also necessitate a review of additional procedures for possible inclusion of new language (2151P: Interscholastic Activities and 2320P: Field Trips).
- Our committee believes that language detailing the District right of refusal/consequences for those organizations that cannot or do not comply with District requests should be added into 6114P.
Recommendation #2: Review and Revise Administrative Procedure 2151P: Interscholastic Sports.
Rationale for Recommendation #2
Our committee believes that Administrative Procedure 2151P needs further review and possibly updating by appropriate administration/staff in consultation with support groups as necessary. For consideration as appropriate administration/staff reviews 2151P:
- How do non-WIAA sports relate to donations?
Recommendation #3: Review and Revise Administrative Procedure 6102P: Fundraising.
Rationale for Recommendation #3
Our committee believes that Administrative Procedure 6102P needs further review and possibly updating by appropriate administration/staff in consultation with support groups as necessary. For consideration as appropriate administration/staff reviews 6102P:
- The addition of language that details what is considered a fee and what is considered an organized purchase and how to separate these from donations
- The addition of language that highlights how to improve/increase equity of student opportunities created by fundraising and donations rather than eliminating opportunities through unintentional or intentional limitation of funds.
Recommendation #4: Review and Revise Administrative Procedure 2320P: Field Trips.
Rationale for Recommendation #4
Our committee believes that Administrative Procedure 2320P needs further review and possibly updating by appropriate administration/staff in consultation with support groups as necessary. For consideration as appropriate administration/staff reviews 2320P:
- The addition of specific language detailing individual scholarship assistance, collection of trip fees, and management of financial aid funds
- The addition of language that details requirements to ensure donations that enable activities (such as trips, etc.) will cover all costs for all students to benefit
- The addition of language to alignment 2320P with changes/updates in 6102 and 6114