The School Committee in Whitman-Hanson made updates to WHRSD gift policy, and to the guidelines on building use
The School Committee has approved changes to building use and donations policies in order to provide more uniformity and fairness.
Building use changes include a requirement that adults sign voluntary school release forms, as well as an annual statement from group representatives that the forms are signed and that outside groups may not use or place an “undue burden” on facilities support staff.
Regulations have also been updated, including cancellation fees and limitations to availability of facilities when events would interfere with school functions.
“With this particular packet, you are going to have the do’s and the don’ts, what’s expected from you and what you can expect from the district,” said Chairman Bob Hayes.
Donations policy involves an avenue through which funds can be earmarked for use by a specific school.
“It became very clear that some of our policies contradicted each other,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner.
Donors are advised that, as public education is the taxpayer’s responsibility, gifts must be for supplemental materials and programs, not supplanting the regular curriculum or faculty salaries. Gifts also become property of the district, even if they are directed at an individual school.
Each school has a revolving account managed by the Business Office.
“They should not come with strings attached, unless they are presented that way to [the School Committee] that they need to come and be used only for a specific program or a specific school,” Gilbert-Whitner said.
Several such donations were accepted by the committee Wednesday, Oct. 14:
- Donations in memory of Patricia Duval requested to be directed to the school by the Duval family — once all donations have been received the school’s officials will update the committee of the total amount and use of the funds;
- $400 from Shaw’s Supermarket Charitable Foundation for the Indian Head School to purchase technology items;
- $400 from Shaw’s Supermarket Charitable Foundation for the Maquan School to purchase technology items;
- $4,087.20 from One Zero Financial Systems to purchase 15 ChromeBooks and their management licenses for the Indian Head School. The gift has been vetted by the Technology Department.
- $1,265 from the Monday-Tuesday Night Volleyball Group in lieu of gym fees for the girls’ volleyball team to fund registration fees for students unable to afford them.
Donations, if any are received, of $35,000 or more that could be intended for a capital expense — and that could involve bidding laws or legislation — must also be addressed and analyzed to determine how it would involve those regulation, the superintendent explained.
“I’m kind of hoping that somebody watching tonight donates $100,000 to each one of the schools,” Hayes quipped.
Grants sought for the district must also be approved by the district before applications are filed.
“We are trying to be very strict about any technology that people are trying to get for the district, whether it’s through fund-raising or grants really needs to go through the Tech Department,” she said. “We want to make sure we can support it and that it’s in compliance with other things that we have.”
In-kind donations must also fit into the curriculum. Donations of time, however, do not need School Committee approval.