Back in September, a well-meaning parent posted a teacher request for donations to the donorchoose.org on the BASICS Facebook page, that set off a powder keg of privacy issues and set administrators scrambling to locate over 10 years of technology and equipment that had come into the district.
Assistant Superintendent, Norma Cole worked closely with Michele Simpson, Executive Director or Pupil Personnel Services to get pictures taken off the website and all technology registered.
Getting a policy in place, that laid out clear and concise steps to follow became an urgent issue for Cole to make sure the entire district was on the same page, and everyone understood what was allowed and expected. This policy has put this issue to rest for the district.
“I reviewed the policy with the executive staff, the grants office and our legal department for input in the development. The policy follows the procedures that we use for other grants with adjustments based on the way the Donors Choose operates. I reviewed policies from other districts in other states. I could not find another policy in Rhode Island. All equipment has been accounted for regarding former requests. I do expect teachers to use Donors Choose, once the school committee adopts the policy,” Cole said.
The policy was voted on and approved by the School Committee at their December 18 meeting.
“The policy is an extension of our existing gifts, grants and donations policy with the same rules applying. The specific piece of the photographs was added as a reminder that it is not part of policy to use individual student photos. I think that any outside source of donation or grant or gift is great for the district. We know that we have limits on our budget and we cannot ask our teachers or families to bear the burden of request all of the time. But with any type of fundraising you must be aware of the rules and make sure they are being followed. We hope that this inclusion of crowd funding specifically in the policy will make the rules clear to all,” said Janice Ruggieri, School Committee Chairperson.