Crowdfunding criteria get OK

Franklin Area School District teachers will now need the district’s approval if they wish to raise money via crowdfunding, as two policies were approved at the Board of Education’s meeting on Monday evening.

“It’s really just a way to start controlling what (teachers) ask for,” Superintendent Pamela Dye said.

The issue of teachers crowdfunding through websites like GoFundMe or Facebook fundraisers was originally addressed at the Board of Education’s Sept. 16 work session after a Pennsylvania School Boards Association recommendation that districts in the commonwealth adopt policies to control the activity.

Dye and other district administrators at the work session said no teacher had thus far abused crowdfunding services to their knowledge.

Teachers and organizations within the district will now need to submit a request to the district’s business manager, Jackie Dutchcot, who will then approve or deny the request.

If the request is more than $3,999, the request must then go before the Board of Education.

At last week’s work session, Dutchcot said managing teacher crowdfunding requests will also help to make sure any devices requested are compatible with the school’s already existing technology.

“We don’t want someone getting a Mac when we run on PC,” Dutchcot said.

Another policy approved by the board outlines and re-vamps the district’s suicide awareness, prevention and response plans.

“It’s really important. We’re talking about the student’s mental health,” Dye said.

The policy speaks of several initiatives to educate students on the importance of mental health, and details where staff and students should go if they have a concern about a student who could be at risk of suicide.

In addition to laying out go-to staff members, the policy states all district employees, including bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers, will receive information about risk factors, warning signs, response procedures, referrals and resources regarding youth suicide awareness and prevention.

The policy also states information received in confidence from a student can be revealed to the student’s parents or guardians, as well as to staff members, including the student’s principal, if the student is “clearly in jeopardy.”

Polk Center resolution

Board members made the unanimous decision to adopt a resolution condemning the shutdown of Polk State Center.

“We need to make an effort to do what we can,” board President Brian Spaid said.

The resolution calls the center an “integral part of Franklin Area School District” and that it “provides extraordinary care that is in the best interest of its residents.”

Despite the fact the area’s combined school districts stand to lose an estimated $671,947 in income and property taxes, as calculated in an economic impact report prepared for the Penn-Northwest Development Corp. by Impact DataSource, LLC, the economic impact of Polk’s closure is the last item on the resolution.

The district chose to instead list the “district believes that it is detrimental to the individuals residing in Polk State Center to be removed from their lifelong home and placed in group homes where they will not receive the same level of care.”

The meeting minutes will reflect the motion to approve the resolution was seconded by every board member, who all raised their hands at the same time.

The resolution will be sent to the state Department of Human Services.