The School Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to revise a policy that deals with school fundraising and added language to clarify that door-to-door sales are permitted for school support organizations.
School Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles) said there was confusion around the language in the revised policy that stated door-to-door sales weren’t allowed in school-sponsored fundraising activities. He said the revision specifies that school support organizations, like booster clubs, were not governed by the policy that prohibits that activity for school sponsored fundraisers.
“It just simply states that the schools themselves cannot solicit door-to-door,” Morse said of the policy.
Acting Superintendent Daniel Smith said division staff recommended updating the policy to prohibit door-to-door sales for school sponsored fundraising activities for safety reasons.
“The fact that [students] are collecting cash and checks and money, which is also a whole other risk factor in terms of depending on how successful their campaigns are—they are walking around neighborhoods with perhaps a lot of money,” Chief Financial Officer Sharon Willoughby said.
The old policy allowed high school students to go door-to-door in pairs for school sponsored fundraising activities, like selling wrapping paper or chocolates. Under the revised policy, door-to-door sales for school sponsored fundraising activities are not allowed.
School support organizations conduct fundraising activities for the schools but are not considered school sponsored fundraisers.
Smith cited TAG DAY, a popular fundraiser where members of school bands and orchestras go door-to-door asking for donations, as one such school-support organization fundraiser that is permitted to conduct door-to-door sales.
“There is a longstanding tradition of students doing door-to-door solicitation,” School Board member Erika Ogedegbe (Leesburg) said. “In our neighborhood we often have students come, whether it’s with athletics or band, raising money, and I’ve always enjoyed talking to them and listening to what their activities are and being able to support them. For that reason, I think we just need to be more explicit about what that is because the language is causing confusion with families who think we are prohibiting the fundraising in all circumstances.”
She proposed a change that specifically states door-to-door fundraisers were permissible for school support organizations. John Beatty (Catoctin) said he opposed adding the language to the policy because he felt it was a contradiction to the language already in it.
Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) said he felt the confusion from the community dictated the clarification.
That amendment passed 5-3-1 with Beatty, Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Tiffany Polifko (Broad Run) opposed and Denise Corbo (At-large) absent for the vote.
The board then voted unanimously to approve the revisions to the policy.
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