Originally posted at 4:54 a.m. Sept. 26, 2013.
Are students in the Capistrano Unified School District spending too much time fundraising?
That’s the question school board President John Alpay raised at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
“My concern is it’s taking away an inordinate amount of time from education,” Alpay said, asking fellow trustees to consider a policy at board level.
The remarks came during the first part of the meeting when trustees usually report out school-related meetings or events they attended.
“As it is, we have three days less of instruction,” Alpay said, referring to this year’s teachers’ contract shortens the normal school year by three days.
Alpay added that some districts prohibit fundraising assemblies during the school day.
Such is the case in Los Angeles Unified, according to its website.
A Patch survey of email lists from elementary and middle schools in San Clemente from the past week alone found that:
- At Clarence Lobo Elementary, two of the three news items from Principal Cheryl Sampson were about fundraising
- At Las Palmas Elementary, kids are asked to circulate a catalog of gift ideas from http://www.kidsarefirst.com/, which includes prizes and incentives, including teacher incentives. Students have to register with the program and are given a “seller ID”
- Vista Del Mar Middle School’s email was devoted solely to magazine sales (the school’s website says the push will include “duck days” when students can earn “duck bucks” for “duck feedings” – but we’re not sure what that means!)
- The Truman Benedict Elementary newsletter has the subject, “DON'T FORGET: Fun Fundraisers at Benedict,” but are for after-school sales of Otter Pops and Kona Ice
Newsletters this past week from Concordia and Vista Del Mar Elementary did not mention fundraising.
Fundraising is voluntary, notes the CUSD website:
“Please note that the law does not prohibit a school district or its programs from requesting voluntary donations or fundraising activities and programs. These donations and fundraising financial contributions are voluntary, and all students will be allowed to participate in school activities and extracurricular activities regardless of whether the parent or legal guardian makes a donation or contribution.”
Another page indicates that while students don’t have to raise funds, they can be required to participate.
“Students can be expected to attend a fundraising event as an element of participation. For example, expecting members of a vocal ensemble to attend a fundraising concert that is on its calendar of events does not violate the ‘free school’ guarantee, so long as attendance is the only requirement. Another example is when members of an athletic team are expected to help out with a fundraising sale at a back-to-school night or open house, as long as the only requirement is participation in the event.”