By LISA MACNEIL
At the Workshop held on October 27, 2020, the Hernando County School District (HCSD) board members came to a consensus to investigate the use of crowdfunding through DonorsChoose (donorschoose.org) — a national charity that funds public school classrooms, and allows donors to fund specific projects or items. The board will consider funding through this charity under the Hernando County Education Foundation (HCEF). HCEF is a tax exempt direct support organization for the Hernando County School Board that assists with grants, scholarships and various recognition programs.
Joyce McIntyre, Director of Finance and Purchasing together with HCEF CEO Tammy Brinker will assemble a plan to implement DonorsChoose, then the board will hear the findings and make their decision at a later meeting.
Approval of using DonorsChoose would revise HCSD Policy 6605, which does not permit or sanction the use of crowdfunding for District or specific school programs or activities, including co-curricular or extra-curricular activities. The policy was adopted June 13, 2017 and revised on August 27, 2019.
The policy was adopted after problems were seen with the practice, such as lack of transparency and accountability and ineffective tracking of purchased items. Questions have been posed as to the ownership of tangible assets, and what should happen to them if a teacher leaves the school. The difference between DonorsChoose and general public crowdfunding is that the funding agency is education specific, and administration is involved at all levels, ostensibly providing transparency and accountability- according to the school district.