Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

District clarifies fundraising rules

By Katie Murdoch
Enterprise editor
LYNNWOOD — About two dozen frustrated parents met with Edmonds School District leaders March 1 to clear up how and when they can hold PTA fundraisers.
The meeting came after some parents complained at a school board meeting last month about new fundraising guidelines that they found confusing.
“We had very general statements in policy and procedure that described what was permitted by law, but we didn’t have step-by-step guidelines to help people understand what could be done,” Marla Miller, executive director of business and operations, said before the meeting.
In short, fundraisers by PTA groups — such as a walk-a-thon — can’t be held during the school day if they involve students. If they do, money must be deposited to Associated Student Body accounts rather than PTA coffers, a legal requirement.
During budget talks last spring, parents focused on fundraising efforts to help bridge the gap. As a result, the school board asked staff to publish fundraising guidelines to make clear what legal parameters people need to follow. Some parents reading those rules this year were confused. District staff clarified the rules and discussed them Tuesday.
“(We) realized not all the schools were following the same guidelines,” said Susan Paine, school board president.
No one wants to discourage parents from trying to help, Superintendent Nick Brossoit told the group. The issue is following the law; he encouraged parents to ask officials for help.
“We have to work within the rules to the best of our knowledge and awareness,” Brossoit said. “I will never recommend our board to practice something illegal.”
Some parents though feel their attempts to help are being thwarted.
Michele Fellows, a member of Madrona Integrated Team, a PTA group, said organizing events before and after school will make it more difficult to raise money as it will conflict with after-school activities.
Others say they are ready to move forward.
“It seems there’s options and we need to work with the school district and work within the guidelines and choose our options,” said Stephanie Ingalls, a member of the Edmonds Elementary PTA.