Edmonds School District fundraising guide draws parents’ comments

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By Florine Gingerich

The Edmonds School District’s 2011 fundraising guide – and how it could affect current parent fundraising efforts — became a focal point at the Feb. 15 Edmonds School Board meeting.

As part of the monthly Business and Operations report, Marla Miller, Executive Director for Business and Operations, explained that last spring, in response to budget cuts, parents and community members began asking how they could help to offset budget shortfalls. The Board requested that the district develop fundraising policies, which were adopted in August.

This month, the district revised the policies to show them in a chart format, available on the district’s website under the Parents tab. In addition, last week the district — in response to a number of inquiries from parent groups and school administrators — issued a list of frequently asked questions that address the specific issue of jog-a-thons and similar events involving students and conducted during the school day. According to the district, those activities must be conducted primarily by school staff, with funds deposited not to the parent organization but to an ASB or building fund account.

About 30 parents — primarily of elementary students — attended the meeting. Nearly half of them spoke during the public comment period, concerned that the district’s fundraising policy will disrupt the jog-a-thons and walk-a-thons that have historically been fundraisers for parent-teacher organizations. A majority of the speakers were parents of Madrona students, but Cedar Way, Edmonds Elementary, Brier Terrace and Martha Lake were also represented.

Many of the parents who spoke questioned whether the policy is more restrictive than necessary, stating they didn’t believe that the background material cited on the district website to support the policy requires such a stringent interpretation. Some urged the school district to ask the state Legislature to address the situation, if necessary.

Several reported that parents at their schools are upset or confused by the changes. They feared that focusing parent-teacher organization activities away from school grounds and outside school hours will hurt the sense of community and lessen enthusiasm for fundraising by parents. Some also noted that walking or jogging is healthier for kids than cookie dough. Students from financially disadvantaged families who can’t contribute to wrapping paper or cookie dough sales can participate in a walk-a-thon and feel part of the community effort, those speaking noted.

Board President Susan Paine thanked parents who attended for their involvement with their children’s schools. The Board, she said, wants to hear community voices. Superintendent Nick Brossoit acknowledged parental concerns and said the district will create a working group of parents and staff to address the issue further.

In other business, the Edmonds School Board honored the accomplished student musicians selected to participate in All-Northwest and All-State musical groups. Scott Barnes, Manager of Visual and Performing Arts, distributed certificates recognizing the achievement to the students, who then performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” (A portion of that performance was captured on video below.)

Selected for All-Northwest Band were Sophie Roben and Lucy Schermer. All-Northwest Jazz Band participants include Eric Dubbury, Alex Dyring, Skyler Floe, Daniel Hipke, Kendall Irby, Skye Lewis and Jack Walters. Marilee Clobes, Nathaniel Hendrix, Todd Hollenhorst, Marcus Maxfield and Taylor Zickefoose will perform with All-Northwest Jazz Choir. Others chosen for All-Northwest choirs include Aleena Wolfe, Mixed Choir and Maranda Troutt, Treble Choir.

All-State Concert Band will include Hannah Burson, Michaela Fraser, Rebecca Herivel, Grey Larson and Samantha Piercy. Tyler Brown and Evan Debries will participate in Symphonic Choir; and Jane Hong, Victoria Phan, Stephen Weikel and June Woo have been chosen for the Symphony Orchestra.

Jonathan Mah and Alec Sjoholm will represent the district in Junior All-State Orchestra, and Damari Peralez-Long in the Youth Honor Chorus.

Florine Gingerich

My Edmonds New school board contributor Florine Gingerich has a son who attended Edmonds public schools, where she volunteered in roles ranging from pouring juice in kindergarten at Madrona K-8 to serving as president of the Edmonds-Woodway Music Boosters. With her husband, Doug Purcell, she practices law at Purcell & Adams, PLLC, a South County firm emphasizing business law, real estate and estate planning. Visit them at purcelladams.com, or contact her at fgingerich@purcelladams.com.

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