704R - Gifts, Bequests, and Donations

The purpose of this regulation is to define the procedures and responsibilities for accepting, reporting, and accounting for gifts, bequests, and donations for the benefit of a school or the school division. The school board discourages staff member acceptance of personal gifts from commercial organizations. Additionally, the school board discourages gifts to staff members funded with school board or school activity funds.

I. Gifts to a school or the school division

This regulation is applicable to all funds received and to all items of personal property. It is also applicable to all gifts of real property. Gifts of real property will be considered for acceptance by the school board on the merits of each case.

A. Criteria

1. Gifts shall become permanent property of the school division and will be inventoried, maintained, and disposed of according to applicable regulations.

2. If funds are received as a gift, the funds will be accounted for by the applicable finance regulations and shall abide by the specifications of the donor if such funds are accepted.

3. If items are to be purchased from funds received, items shall be purchased in accordance with appropriate purchasing regulations.

4. Although endorsement or implied endorsement of a commercial product or endeavor is prohibited by school board policy, it is permissible to allow an incidental identification or acknowledgement of the donor adjacent to the “gift” item, such as a company name or logo.

B. Coordination and Approval Process

Upon notification by an individual or organization that a gift will be offered to the school or school system, the receiving individual will seek authority to accept the gift. The principal or administrator shall assess the educational purpose and ensure the gift, if non-monetary, meets the minimum standards set by the division.

All Gifts: All gifts, whether monetary or non-monetary, of over $5,000 shall be reported to the superintendent or designee, and subsequent action shall be coordinated to ensure proper accounting, inventory management, technology compatibility, and plant or asset maintenance.

1. Donation of Money: Donors may stipulate purposes for which the donated funds shall be used; however, the administrator may reject the offer of a donation. If the gift qualifies for superintendent approval (a gift of over $5,000), the superintendent or designee may reject the offer of a donation.

2. Donation of Technology Equipment: To ensure proper compatibility, (including network wiring, electrical upgrades, room modifications, compliance with existing configurations, and appropriateness), donations of technology equipment will be accepted only if the items meet the minimum standard specifications established by the information technology department.

3. Donation of Equipment Requiring Installation or Continued Maintenance: Any equipment that is donated to a school shall be installed at no expense to the school board. All such donations must meet the same quality and safety standards as equipment furnished by the school board. Donations of equipment or improvement of facilities that will require operating funds or future maintenance of over $100 from appropriated funds must receive prior approval from the appropriate administrator whose budget will fund the cost.

C. Recognition of Donor

The principal or administrator receiving the gift shall make sure proper acknowledgement is sent to the donor. Such acknowledgement shall not be in the form of an advertisement that explicitly encourages students or parents to patronize a particular business establishment or to purchase a product of a particular brand. This does not exclude businesses from purchasing advertising in student magazines and yearbooks. The principal shall approve all such advertising.

II. Gifts to staff members

The purchase of gifts for staff members using school board or school activity funds in the form of cash, gift certificates/cards, or non-cash merchandise and funded with school board or school activity funds is generally discouraged. Using discretion, such gifts are permissible to the extent the expense is reasonable and necessary to carry out the mission of the school division. The school division understands the value of recognizing and encouraging the dedication, support, and participation given to the school division by employees. This regulation provides guidance in such cases.

Gifts of cash, gift certificates, or other cash equivalent instruments, regardless of value, are taxable to the employee. Non-cash gifts are taxable unless the gift is for length of service or safety. Non-compliance with the Internal Revenue Code rules subjects the school division to penalties. Any taxable gift to an employee must be coordinated with the executive director of finance or designee. Such gifts will be subject to federal, state, and FICA tax withholding. All expenditures shall be properly documented to include a written explanation of why and how such gift is reasonable and valued by the division.

III. Gifts to Students

Using gifts, gift certificates/cards as a means of providing awards and incentives to students is allowed provided the gifts are nominal in value. The amount should be within reason and the purpose of the gift shall be well documented. Any cash equivalent instrument such as gift certificates or gift cards must be stored in a locked and secured area at all times.

IV. Gifts to Volunteers

The board encourages volunteers in the school system and expects that appreciation be expressed to volunteers. The preferred form of appreciation is a written expression of gratitude. On an occasion when the extent of service by a volunteer warrants a token of appreciation beyond the written word, a gift may be justified. In those cases, the amount should be within reason and the purpose of the gift shall be well documented.




Approved: July 8, 2009