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Crowdfunding at school? Pasco district will require approval first

District officials want to be sure the requests don’t put the system in a bad light.
The Pasco County school district wants teachers to get approval before putting requests for classroom items onto crowdfunding websites. [Donors Choose screen shot]
Published Oct. 1

More than 125 Pasco County teachers have turned to the Donors Choose website to seek financial support for classroom supplies.

They ask for less than $100, up to more than $1,000, for things as wide ranging as alternative student seating to materials for hands-on STEM activities.

Soon, they will have to ask for permission before posting such requests.

The Pasco County School Board is considering a policy change that would have employees get advanced approval for any crowdfunding proposals that identify their schools and district, along with the understanding that the solicitations fit with district-identified educational priorities or specific causes.

The policy also would mandate that any equipment or donations collected through crowdfunding on behalf of the schools would become the property of the district, and not the teachers making the requests.

The issue, School Board member Allen Altman indicated Tuesday, is a desire to ensure that employees are not suggesting that they are seeking support for items that the district is preventing them from having. In many instances, Altman noted, the district has made supplies and equipment available, but the workers have not asked for them.

Superintendent Kurt Browning said the district will strive to do a better job of alerting employees as to what is available and how to access it. He acknowledged that the budget cannot pay for everything, but at the same time he does not want to see an image perpetuated of a district that does not back its teachers’ classroom needs.

Often, the teachers are looking for extras, he has said, and that should be made clear. Browning first brought up this concern more than three years ago.

Now, the district is trying to more clearly codify its expectations for the staff who turn to outsiders for assistance.

RELATED: District leaders cringe when online donation requests make their schools look too needy

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