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Raising kids who raise money

Parents of school-age children are no strangers to fundraisers, and because many people don't think twice before giving to causes through the schools, most local districts have standards in place to make sure a person's hard-earned dollars go to legitimate recipients.

New York State Regents Rule 19.6 really limits the amount of fundraising that can go on in a school, said Niskayuna Central School District Board of Education member Barbara Mauro.

The Regents rule sets up guidelines for the entire state, including which types of fundraisers are appropriate, when school fundraising can occur, and what kinds of programs students may participate in. While those guidelines are substantial, individual districts also have their own regulations in place.

Recently, the Niskayuna Central School District Board of Education completed a revised fundraising policy that sets out the regulations in easy-to-understand wording.

"What we're trying to do with the policy is put the guidelines into clear language for everyone to understand and putting it into a language that [determines] everything has to be approved and scheduled by the principal so that people know that this is a way to manage the fundraising," said Mauro.

At Niskayuna Central School District, as well as many other local districts, fundraising is not permitted during class time. If it interrupts classroom instruction, it doesn't happen at all. Similarly, fundraising cannot be a factor in a student's grade for any subject, and it cannot be a base for rewarding extra credit.

School fundraising can happen during lunch and other outside classroom time, but those events must be approved by the school's principal, and there are a number of forms and descriptions that have to be filled out by the fundraising group. A parent can't simply decide to set up a fundraiser in his or her child's school without taking the appropriate measures to get it approved. Finally, charities and causes that the school raises money for must be not-for-profit organizations.

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