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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Marshall school board member questions fundraising practices

Friday, September 28, 2012

Marshall school board member Anita Wright brought up an issue at the board's meeting Tuesday, Sept. 25, that has been bothering her -- school fundraising practices.

She referred specifically to door-to-door sales of merchandise that often ranges from cookie dough or fruit baskets to various trinkets and doodads.

She and board member Larry Godsey noted that often parents end up buying some or all of the products kids need to sell to reach quotas.

"You do it for the cause," Wright said, "but I feel parents have already spent a lot of money just getting them ready for school."

She clarified that she's not opposed to fundraising generally, but she is concerned about the projects that require door-to-door sales. And she said she heard some projects involve quotas students must reach in order to participate in the activity supported by the fundraising.

"I don't like telling kids they have a quota they have to make or pay the difference," she said.

She said other types of fundraising, like holding dinners or car washes, are more acceptable because patrons can choose to participate without feeling pressure.

Board member Douglas Koehn asked what economic impact fundraising projects have for extracurricular activities.

That information wasn't immediately available, but Superintendent Ryan Huff said some school districts levy a student activity to support activities.

That option didn't gain any traction Tuesday, but Huff promised to gather information about current practices and economic impact and will report back to the board.

Contact Eric Crump at ecrump@marshallnews.com

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Stop giving to out of town solicitors. For example the people outside of Wal-Mart. Many are from out of town, and represent less than honest organizations. The one that asks for money for abused children--look them up--they are a cult and the head guy is a multi millionaire who sends people out to collect. There is no camp or help for abused kids--just their sad story line to entice.

-- Posted by mu-grad on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 8:25 PM

Chillin - normally elementary schools are raising money for the PTO. In my school, the PTO hosts holiday parties, pays for the bus driver and gas for field trips, sometimes the costs of the field trips (we're a small school), playground equipment, and many other things for the kids...

-- Posted by opin on Thu, Oct 4, 2012, at 6:11 PM

"there are about 24 kids average in a classroom. that would $240.00 in school supplies and snacks (if elementary) that is a lot of crayons, glue, pencils tissues erasers etc! and they can get them in gross amounts for a lesser price!"

I assume you are counting on the glue, and erasers doubling as snacks with that list? Way back when there were quite a few glue eaters, and some eraser chewers. Either there are a lot more doing it now, or some kids are going to be left with a snack they can't hack. ;)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 7:35 PM

I agree with sooo many of these comments and suggestions! Fundraisers beginning the first week of school is insane. And since the school supplies are all compiled together now anyway, I think it would be much cheaper and better for all involved to charge $10.00 per child and that teacher is in charge of purchasing supplies for her classroom for that year. there are about 24 kids average in a classroom. that would $240.00 in school supplies and snacks (if elementary) that is a lot of crayons, glue, pencils tissues erasers etc! and they can get them in gross amounts for a lesser price! I also agree on finding someone to do grant writing, and cutting back on the fundraisers and or making them grade exclusive.

In answer to the question of what does the money go for when the elementary kids do fundraising, it goes toward new school playground equipment, a popcorn cart, things like that. I also love the idea of asking various fast food places and restaurants etc if a container can be placed at the register or station for patrons to place their change in ..of course it would need to be clearly marked what organization was raising the money and what it is for.... ex, uniforms, trip money, equipment and so forth.

-- Posted by proudmarshallite on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 10:46 PM

I refuse to buy overpriced "stuff" that I don't need or can't eat but when I suggested I give a monetary donation in order to help the child reach the goal to get the "prize", I was told the child would not get any credit for a sale. I'm glad someone is talking about this and I hope it changes.

-- Posted by Air Force Wife on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 7:53 PM

We would very much like to see all these "sales projects" stopped. We have neighbor children selling a multitude of goods that are so overpriced that we would very much like to see the bottom line that the organization ends up with!!! After all, who has the heart to tell a child that you really don't want to buy their products. Then "someone" has to go get what you bought or parents spends time after a day's work delivering products. Gas is NOT cheap!! If highschool kids want to have a car wash or yard cleaning for a money raising project I have no problems with this. At least you have the choice to participate or not. I really don't think gradeschoolers are learning much salesmanship since most of the work seems to be done by the parents to keep orders straight!!!

-- Posted by farmerwife on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 5:36 PM

I have no issue with the High School students selling for their clubs.

The issue I have is with the elementaries doing fund raisers! What does an elementary student need to do fundraisers for??? Parents buy the school supplies, pay/pack lunches for field trips, pay for extras on fieldtrips etc...so I don't understand why such young children are sent home with fundraisers to sell. Not only are they to sell them, but they are usually 4 papers of different items. They also do fundraising two times a year now.

The school I grew up in only allowed fundraising for the High School clubs. The sports were funded by their gate admissions. Just an idea!

-- Posted by chillin-on-a-dirtroad on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 3:15 PM

At some of the drive through fast food places here (Sonic) high school kids are allowed to stand beside the drive way exit, just after the window where food, and money are exchanged. They have signs such as help us get our band uniforms, and the name of the school; they have a donation cup. Many folks drop their change in the cup, self included.

I don't know if that is feasible in Marshall, but it is something to consider.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 11:22 PM

The idea of "fees" was brought up years ago. Example, instead of Juniors begging for money for prom, a class fee was proposed. Alvin Lowe and others shot it down immediately. What about lower income families who can't afford the fee? What about kids, families that would face multiple fees?

-- Posted by inthemiddle on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 10:01 PM

I'd prefer that sales skills were acquired via on-the-job training at a later point in students' lives than in grade school. And again...show me the money. Prove to me that the effort expended in these enterprises really benefits the school in a more-than-marginal way. I doubt that's possible.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 8:53 PM

Ahhh, good points, but you need to consider that these could be good skills, should they decide to become salespeople.

Can't say I've ever bought anything that raises money for the magazine or cookie dough people; but I gladly give to in-house projects, such as Project Graduation.

-- Posted by Interested Too on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 8:14 PM

The people making the real money on these "fundraiser" activities are the companies that sponsor them, not the schools. Sending little kids (even big kids) out on the streets to peddle magazines, candy bars or any other variety of product is a practice that should have come to an end the day it started. The fact that it has gone on for decades is no reason to continue. I would like to see an accounting of how much it really makes for the schools - and I'd bet it's not nearly what anyone thinks it is.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 7:47 PM

I personally would like to have the option to just give money than getting some little do-hickey that I really don't need. I tried this when my daughter was in the first grade. I wrote a check with a note explaining what my intentions were, the check was cashed, but my child did not get to participate in some party because she did not sell 5 items. I was furious!

Perhaps, the school could set it up that it could just take donations and if the person wants to ear mark the $ for a certain club, or sport or supplies etc., etc., that would be an option.

I would rather cut out that middle man and give my money right to the school.

I liked the idea of the grant writer too!

-- Posted by meagain on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 4:47 PM

This has been going on in the Marshall Public schools for decades. It's not new Anita. And the bottom line was that the district did not provide enough funding to cover the activities so the difference had to be made up somewhere else. Charging fees may sound like a good idea, but what if the parents can't afford it? Then students are being kept out of something because of their socio-economic status. I don't know if there is a good fix here but yes it does seem like there are a lot of fundraisers, and yes it has been part of the picture for a very long time, and yes the companies that provide the fundraisers are making more money than the students, and yes it seems like a lot of it is just junk.

-- Posted by momaster on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 9:45 AM

For the past few years, Bueker Middle School has hosted a walk-a-thon instead of the traditional fundraising nonsense. The kids enjoy it, and I like that 100% of my donation goes to the school. Maybe all the schools should consider moving in this direction.

-- Posted by born-n-raised on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 8:52 AM

My out-of-state granddaughter sends requests for us to buy fund raising items, magazine subscriptions, etc. I let her mother know that we won't participate. I have, however, written checks to the school with a stipulation that the money be applied to whatever improvement the current fund raising project is for in my granddaughter's name. The checks have been cashed, the money presumably used for the designated purpose, and the company that sells the junk the kids are peddling doesn't get a cut.

-- Posted by Pragmatist on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 7:10 AM

I remember peddling candy and magazines when I was in grade school, and I absolutely loathed it. That experience has made me an easy touch for any kid who has something to sell. For the few, and they are VERY few, kids who enjoy it, it's great. For the rest of us - and there are more who hate it than love it - it's an awful experience. I'd be more than willing to contribute a little more to the schools in the form of taxes to keep little kids with candy and magazines off the street.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 7:21 PM

I new a man who proposed and started his own payed position with a small town school district. He got his own office and worked full time doing nothing but writing for grants. with in a couple of years the schools had bought all new band and orchestra instuments, new uniforms, completely remodeled all the buildings and ended up one of the nicest school districts I have ever seen.

-- Posted by cahman8 on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 6:57 PM

I have a friend that teaches in Canada. At her school, the parents are required to pay a "supply" fee every year at registration instead of purchasing items from a list. Then the school buys the same items for every student. She said they do it to cut down on bullying. This way, every student has the exact same crayons, pencil boxes, notebooks, etc and no one is getting made fun of for having the Rose Art crayons or not having the cutesy folders. I would much rather pay a fee than go buy supplies every year. Plus, some of the supply lists get a little ridiculous and it's hard to know exactly what the teacher is actually wanting. I would be more than happy to write one check and be done with it. There would be no dragging supplies to school, fighting with my child about each item, or spending money on something only to find out it wasn't correct and I needed to go purchase the right one.

As for the fundraising, I agree. It's hard to sell when every other student is selling the same stuff. If nothing else, have each grade sell at different times of the year.

-- Posted by Oldblackcat on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 6:37 PM

Who really makes the money on these fundraiser things? I strongly suspect the big bucks go to the firm that is offering the product to be sold by the kids. This would apply to those discount cards also. What is the percentage involved here? everyone would be better off if the kids were selling their time and labor for things such as yard cleanup, the car washes, etc. All profit that way. I wish the district would prohibit sales of anything that has to be purchased from an outside firm.

-- Posted by red dog on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 6:18 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My friends all have kids that are selling at the same time...how am I supposed to ask them to buy from my kid, when they are trying to do the same for their kids. My neighbors all have school age children. My church friends all have school age children. And after my son's dad getting laid off in the past year, and me switching jobs, we do not have the money to buy up the difference for the 50 cent prize that he has to sell 20 items for. I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you so much!!!

-- Posted by joboda on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 5:32 PM

Thanks Anita.

-- Posted by Pasta on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 4:16 PM

It seemed like they started the fundraising immediately after school started so there was no time to even save up funds. I think it is sad when they are even having 3 and 4 year olds fund raising. I grew up in Illinois and we always had a book rental fee we payed that defrayed the cost of books as they were used more than one year so three years of fees paid for the books. They also used this to buy paper and pencils to have at school for the children instead of all the families stocking the school shelves. I always wonder with the number of school supplies required if all of the materials get used up each year or is there a store house that never gets low. I know the school can buy the materials much cheaper in bulk that the families pay for them.

-- Posted by Pidge on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 3:41 PM

It is ridiculous the amount of fundraisers all the schools have! We have the elementary selling the magazines, cookie dough, and dips. Then we have the football kids selling merchanise cards and then the elementary kids will be selling those too. Everytime you turn around a school and sport is selling something. There has to be another way because it is not fair to the kids whose parent can't buy the extra product so their kid can go to the movies or the football players whose parents can't sell or buy the 20 cards requried so they don't get the hoody or whatever the reward is for that. I know the money helps the schools but I agree the quanity has to be less.

-- Posted by huh? on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 3:05 PM

As a parent I would rather pay a fee upfront than have to peddle the overpriced junk that the kids have to sell. I was embarrassed to deliver the stuff that the elementary kids had to sell last year and they sold the same stuff this year.

-- Posted by tommob on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 2:55 PM

I think the limits are simply set to high for kids. The issue they run into is every grade is selling the same stuff. So when 2,000 kids are selling the same thing, it's hard for any of them to really sell a lot because everyone is already buying it from someone else. I think the fundraising is ok but for one have specifics of what your using the money for (new science books or whatever) and then split up the fundraising. Have 1st grade do cookie dough, 2nd grade magazines, 3rd grade candy or whatever. That way even if people have already bought cookie dough from their 2nd grader, but then their friends child is selling maagzine so they can do that as well. And make the perks smalling, rather than 35 items to go tot he movie, make it only 15. Then have bigger prizes like a bike or whatever for kids who can really sell hard. My daughter is going to be upset when she finds out she can't go to the movie because we didn't have enough family and friends to cover the amount she needed.

-- Posted by oldschool17 on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 2:16 PM

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