Welcome, Minutes, and Overview

Facilitator Dick Withycombe welcomed committee members and reviewed the objectives of today’s meeting. The committee approved the minutes of their October 24 meeting as submitted.

Review of Draft Policy

District Director of Athletics and Activities Jeff Lowell reviewed the committee’s second revision of Policy 6114 Donations. With the exception of minor line editing, the committee made no changes to the text. They added three cross references: Board Policy 2320, Field Trips; Board Policy 4237, Contests, Advertising and Promotions; and Board Policy 6102, District Fundraising. With these minor changes and these additions, the committee agreed that this revision constitutes the final draft they will share at the stakeholder forums.

Review of Procedure

The committee reviewed the first draft of a revised procedure for implementing the donations policy. Jeff said he and Director of Finance and Budget Marie Telecky created this “first-round” draft with the objectives of “clarifying the provisions and using more active language.” The portion the committee reviewed today appears on the following pages, as further revised to reflect committee input and with excerpts from that discussion.

Next Meeting December 6

The Donations Policy Committee will meet December 6 (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) in the WISC Baker Room. Committee members will receive the current draft procedure as a PDF file and send their questions and comments to Jeff the week of November 27, so he can compile them for the next meeting.

The committee will complete their review of the procedure and make sure they have addressed all of
the questions posed in the school board’s charge before scheduling the stakeholder forums, which may mean postponing the forums.

DRAFT Procedure 6114P


Donations to the Bellevue School District may be in the form of cash and cash equivalents or in the form of tangible personal property (equipment and material). Donations may be restricted or unrestricted, and may benefit students either individually (e.g., via a scholarship fund in the Private-Purpose Trust Fund) or in general. These factors determine how the District will account for and/or authorize the donation.

Is scholarship a good example here?* Yes. An individual may leave a bequest to fund a scholarship for students who attend a specific college or who pursue a specific major. That donation to the district is administered through the Private- Purpose Trust Fund. Another example is a church that donates funds intended for students who have a specific need, such as financial assistance in order to participate in a sport. The Private-Purpose Trust Fund is a separate fund within a system of funds and cannot be comingled with the general fund. It’s one of the most common types of donation and can sometimes be complicated because of donor instructions. As with other kinds of donations, the district may either accept or reject these donations.

All donations may be used only for purposes consistent with School Board policies and accompanying procedures and where applicable, federal and state laws/regulations and the rules of other regulatory agencies (as an example, the ‘WIAA’)… In addition, care must be taken to avoid authorizing inappropriate donations, donations that carry with them unsuitable conditions, or donations that obligate the District to future General Fund expenditures out of proportion to the value of the donation.

“Inappropriate” seems too vague.  It’s actually a good word because appropriateness depends on the circumstances, including grade level. For example, weight-training equipment wouldn’t be appropriate in an elementary school.

“Care must be taken” seems less clear than “the district will not.” The issue is that decisions about donations less than $1,000 are made by numerous people at the school level and “taking care” is a less intimidating standard.

Throughout the document, we will delete the word “gift,” using “donation” instead, to be consistent with the language in the policy. “Donation” covers all contributions the district receives; “gift” is language from an outdated policy.

Are services ever donated? Yes, but that’s considered volunteerism and covered by another policy.

Any donation that does not align with these listed guidelines will be returned to the donor.

We have to return inappropriate donations within 24 hours. Sometimes the person who actually receives the money is unaware of the source or which account it should go into.

If donations are designated for a specific purpose, the District will follow the restrictions placed on the donation by the donor to the degree possible. All donations will become District property and will be accepted without obligation relative to ultimate use and/or disposal. For guidance regarding donations appropriately accounted for in the Private-Purpose Trust fund, refer to the section of this procedure titled Donations to Benefit Students Individually.

Do all donations meant to benefit an individual student go into the Private-Purpose Trust Fund? Yes.

Paying for your own child’s participation, in a field trip for example, is not a donation. To be considered a donation, the money must go into a pool.

Should advance-funded designated donations have a balance remaining after fulfilling the donor’s intent, the District will utilize the remaining funds for similar educational purposes or, if the donor stipulates, will return the remaining balance.

The donor form asks donors to stipulate whether they want excess funds returned or held over.

Receipts for government-funded programs (grants) are not considered donations. Additionally, receipts for Bellevue Schools Foundation funded programs (grants) are not considered donations.

The Phase I Donations Committee considered a recommendation that addresses the unique implications and applications of the donations procedure to the Bellevue Schools Foundation.

Another approach would be to recommend that the board amend Policy 6115 to address donations.

Maybe we do need a specific provision for the BSF. They “break all the rules.” The district does obligate funds upfront, and we do allow them to start programs the district later assumes responsibility for.

For this provision to be clear, we need parallel language for the BSF that identifies their donations as grants. That would match our practice.

At this point, let’s set this issue aside until we have input from the forums.

Cash and Cash Equivalents:

Prior to dispersal donations must follow the approval schedule below:

Less than $1,000         Deemed approved by the school or department through the deposit of funds or inventory of equipment/materials.

$1,000 and above        Signed approval form by the school principal for donations to a school or the District department supervisor for donations to a central district program.

$10,000 and above      Add: Signed approval of a member of the District Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team (DEILT or Superintendent’s Cabinet).

$25,000 and above      Add:  Signed approval of the Superintendent.

Are these amounts still good? The original procedure was written in 2016, so the amounts are current and based on a large number of donations.

Donations solicited by a principal have tacit approval, because the principal shouldn’t have asked for something that wouldn’t be approved.

Are the completed donation forms public? Yes, they’re available in the finance office and in the office of the deputy superintendent.

The form is how we develop awareness, but we’re not sure we have 100% compliance.

These approvals are layered, cumulative. As the amount increases, additional approvals are needed. Below $1,000, depositing the funds constitutes approval. Higher amounts would require as many as three additional signatures.

All donations of cash and cash equivalents will be recorded in the 25000 series of accounts in the records of the District and, if the donation is $1,000 and above, it must be reflected on the Donation Agreement Form for Cash and Cash Equivalents (Procedure 6114P – Exhibit A). E-mail approval may be attained from a member of the DEILT or the Superintendent in lieu of required signatures on the Donation Agreement Form for Cash and Cash Equivalents. For 6114P: Exhibit A to be valid, attach a copy of the e-mail approval.

Matching funds and monetary donations received online must be approved. Prior to the dispersal of matching funds and monetary donations received online approval must follow the schedule above. Matching funds and donations received online that do not align with District policy will be returned to the donor.

Donations of stock will be liquidated upon receipt.

The district is not allowed to hold stock; it must be liquidated immediately.

Per District policy 6114, donations will not fund certificated staff. Donations intended to fund District classified personnel shall satisfy all the following criteria:

  • Responsibilities of personnel funded by donations shall be consistent with the District’s philosophy and
  • The School District will hire and evaluate District classified personnel and the donations must comply with District policy 6114, procedures, legal parameters, and labor
  • No donation will be directed by any donor to benefit specific
  • The addition of the personnel will not create a program or position which the District assumes when the funding is exhausted. The program or position ends when the funding ends.
  • Donations to fund personnel shall only be for positions that enrich the District’s programs. These donations:
    • Do not replace the basic responsibilities/job descriptions of individual staff members, and
    • Benefit students in general rather than as individuals, and
    • Do not impact class size ratios in buildings/programs.

In reality, adding classified positions for classroom support does affect class size ratios, and it isn’t fair to allow PTSAs to fund them. It’s an equity issue, especially for the “tweener schools” that aren’t poor enough to qualify for Title I funding and aren’t rich enough to have generous PTSAs.

Notification of all donations of cash and cash equivalents that are $10,000 and greater will be provided to the Board.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.