School is changing its fundraising approach

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, September 23, 2010

Staff Writer

The Beaufort County Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a fundraising plan by the Parent-Teacher Association at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School to seek cash donations rather than requiring students to sell items to raise funds for the school.
The vote came after the part of the plan that would have rewarded students with homework passes if all students in a classroom brought donations was removed from the plan.
Instead, classrooms with 100 percent participation among its students will be rewarded with an ice cream-sandwich party, the board was told.
The fundraising plan initially raised concerns among some board members last week when it was presented to a committee tasked with overseeing the pubic school system’s buildings, grounds and finances.
That group took no action on the plan. Instead, its members said they needed more time to study it and referred the plan to the entire board for its consideration.
On Tuesday, that committee’s chairman said he is satisfied with the changes.
“I have mulled it over,” said William S. Warren, board member and committee chairman. “With the changes you have made, it looks very nice.”
Tired of hustling candy and wrapping paper each year with little to show for it, the PTA at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School came up with a plan to raise money for the school by asking its 600 students at the school to simply bring in cash donations.
It was presented to the board by school Principal M.E. “Bubs” Carson and PTA President Anne Pagnani.
The sale of candy, wrapping paper or other products as a fundraising tool brings only about 40 percent of the proceeds to the school. In contrast, all the money raised by the school under the new plan, dubbed Every Penny for Tayloe, would stay at the school, Pagnani told the board.
Money raised will be used to buy musical instruments for the students and supplies for the school’s art classes, computer laboratory and guidance department, among other projects.
Pagnani said she had received strong support from the community for the proposal.
The PTA hopes to raise about $8,000, Pagnani told the board.  
Several people, many of whom said they were tired of being asked to buy things, had previously expressed support of the proposal and promised to make donations when the fundraising effort began, she said.
At the earlier committee meeting, school board Chairman Robert Belcher voiced particular concerns about the part of the plan that would have rewarded students with a homework pass in those classrooms with 100 percent participation.
Belcher said he feared it too closely resembled a fundraising scheme in Wayne County that was ultimately rejected as a cash-for-grades tactic.
Responding to Belcher’s concerns, Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps said in an interview after the committee meeting he would ask that the proposal immediately be removed from the plan, which happened.