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New provincial school fundraising Guideline

The Province of Ontario has recently published the new rules, regs and best practices around how School Boards should police the ways a school raises money for school purposes.

For the most part, it is a pretty innocuous doc. But the two bullets in bold concern me.

III. Best Practices
Fundraising activities can benefit schools and their communities by fostering stronger community and school partnerships, increased student and community engagement and by providing support for student or charitable organizations. The contribution of the school community towards these benefits is of value to schools.
School boards should consider the following when developing board-wide fundraising policies:

What really worries me is that we will see a hit to fundraising totals if donors see that a portion of their generosity is being funnelled from the school to a central fund. It will also be hit if we are forced to cut back on events because of an arbitrary limit of the number that we are allowed to have.

The purpose of the central fund is to provide other – less affluent, I suppose… or maybe with an inactive parent community – schools to be able to access monies (that were generated through the efforts of others) to “level the playing field”. Or, as I like to call it “lower the bar”.

And what about fundraising efforts that are already underway? Will they be grandfathered?

The existing Board policy is not at all that detailed and will have to be re-written to deal with this new reality.

Lots of questions but no answers so far. I’ll be keeping tabs on this issue.




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  1. Chris says:

    On a side note to the Squid — paying school taxes benefits everyone in the long run whether or not they have kids, just like paying road taxes benefits people who don’t drive or paying taxes for public transportation benefits people who never use public transportation or paying health taxes benefits everyone even if they are never sick.

    1. Yes, it does. But the thousands of dollars I pay each year into the school system should give me a bit of a bye when it comes to fundraising… I’m not DRAINING the system by, say sending my kids across town.

      For that matter, I’m not sending kids to school at all.

      I absolutely agree that school taxes benefit everyone. However, I think it’s important for breeders to recognize that they are benefitting at other people’s expense. I think people should have more respect for that.

      1. trashee says:

        Some might take offense to your use of the word “breeders”…

  2. Chris says:

    I’m just opposed to the entire idea of fundraising in schools. We used to have 5 or 6 fundraising events a year. I refused to let my daughter go door to door begging for funds in return for chocolate bars or cookie dough or flower seeds or whatever other crap they were selling. I would much rather just pay a couple hundred bucks at the beginning of the year to pay for whatever needs paying for that the government won’t fund because the government doesn’t want to fund anything that actually benefits people like education. Ya, there are going to be people who can’t afford that extra $200, so they can apply for an exemption to the fee or a reduction of the fee.

  3. As a universal payor in school fundraising (i.e. no kids), let me show you some arithmetic…

    I work in an office with 38 people. AFAIK, only 2 of us don’t have kids. That’s 36 people with kids in school. Let’s assume that however many kids they have all go to the same school so there’s no issue with 1 parent, 3 schools.

    By and large, each family’s kids go to different schools, so that’s 36 schools fundraising that I’m exposed to. If each school does 2 fundraising drives in a year, that’s 72 fundraisers in 40 weeks.

    In other words: it’s one or two parents (or their kids, but the kids never seem to do the work themselves) begging for money each week, all school year.

    Not to put too fine a spin on it, but fuck that’s annoying. It’s annoying because:

    – my wife and I, together, pay many thousands of dollars to support the school system that we don’t use. I’m glad to do that, but being realistic about it, we pay more than the parent with a brood. IMO, we’ve already contributed.
    – it bugs the shit out of me when parents beg for the money. If your kid has a task as part of a fundraiser, get your kid to ask. Some years ago I started requiring that the affected student ask for my support. Fundraisers are supposed to be an exercise for the kids (or they were when I was in school 290348304 years ago). What message are the kids being taught when mom or dad does all the work? If you can’t be arsed to get your kid to ask, odds are I can’t be arsed to pay.
    – it’s too much, too often. Worse, I am certain that parents take offence when they get turned away. And yet because they are so close to it, they don’t realize how often people are being asked to support a school, or a trip, or a playground upgrade, or a gym upgrade, or a library upgrade, or, or, or… Seriously, it’s ridiculous. Throw in 2 girl guide cookie drives and whatever the scouts are doing, and 2-3 people are begging every week.
    – I notice that parents have the expectation I’ll pay to support their kids’ school, but seem to get bothered by my expectation that they’ll support one of my causes in a similarly generous way. This one *really* hacks me off.

    I work downtown. The bums on the street corners don’t beg as much. I welcome a limitation on school fundraising. Maybe it will cut the begging down to a once-a-week event.

    In Ottawa, specifically, I think there’d be less need for begging if more kids went to their neighbourhood school rather than traipsing across town on the bus for some “special program”. There’s a reason that Ottawa has the second-highest cost per student in Ontario, and it’s certainly not because our schools turn out the ultimate or penultimate students in the province. I cringe every time I hear about someone who lives in Kanata sending their kid to Lisgar, or the 7 year old who doesn’t want to go to the neighbourhood school because they teach Nintendo across town.

    All schools should have a balanced well-rounded program that educates the children of the community in which the shcool is located. It should be *rare* for a student to go to an out-of-area school. Busing for kids should be unusual, not the norm. And schools should try to work within their means, not beg for money.

    1. trashee says:

      I guess it depends on where you work.
      Here, there are about 44 staff in the Division (soon to be fewer) and, after a quick count, I would say thre are about 6 or 7 who are childless… so a higher ratio of no child/child families. Yet I wouldn’t say that even given that, there is a huge effort to milk money from the anyone in the Division.
      It could be that quite a few of the families with kids are older and the children are teens or young adults. But I have been here for 15 yrs and have seen little sign of an oversaturation. Most parents target other staff who they themsleves have supported or with whom they are close colleagues and feel OK to ask.
      I have been asked twice in the past year or so to support a charity/cause that one of their kids have been in and I am generous with these people because I know they will be generous in return.
      I most certainly don’t go cube to cube but I did send out an email to the Section advertising Girl Guide cookies… which, well, were not at all hard to divest myself of (ask GD!). Note as well that my daughter went door to door and sold the bulk of the cookies herself.
      I guess it may be a function of where you work, Darin.
      But I do get your point.
      Still funny though, that you get hit up that much as almost all (no, it would be 100%) of our scholl fundrasing activities happen at school functions which are organised and run by parent volunteers with the kids (school is JK-6, so can’t expect the little kiddies to haul tables around). These have included:
      – Movie Night
      – Book Sale
      – Bake Sale
      – Dance-a-thon (kids did this one)
      And we (I) will be organising a penny drive next month.
      None of them intrude on the workplace. They are fun. And they make the cash needed to build a new play structure that the Board tore down a couple of years back because they deemed it “unsafe”.
      Your last two paragraphs? Right on, brother!

      1. Where I work right now is not bad, in truth, because most people are beyond this age.

        The last place I worked, however, was similar in size for the immediate office, and you’d swear people had an army of yard-ape-beggars. It was at least 2 begs a week, more in peak begging season.

        I don’t blame the kids either. It’s wholly a parent and government thing.

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