Selling has practically become part of the school curriculum, and the Murray Board of Education doesn't like it.
Throughout the school year, students across the valley hawk everything from candy bars to garden supplies to wrapping paper to raise money for school activities and equipment. Most school districts have written policies outlining what fund-raising can take place in the schools, and Murray is no exception.School board members said Tuesday night they want Murray's policy enforced. They are particularly concerned that students in grades K-9 be prohibited from acting as "sales agents in any way as it relates to fund-raising activities."
Board member Margaret Nelson emphasized that the policy says "in any way," not just "door to door" as some have interpreted the policy. She said schools can still hold fund-raisers, but it's parent-to-parent selling that doesn't use the children. Some schools have limited fund-raising to back-to-school nights, she pointed out.
Board member Laura Baker doesn't like the fact that schools have become distributors for large companies selling products. The elementary schoolchildren are encouraged to sell a quota to "earn" an inexpensive prize. This is a violation of Murray's policy, members said.
"What's wrong with just asking the parents for a donation and eliminating the middle man?" board member Joyce Anderson asked. "Personally, I hate to buy this stuff. I don't want it. I don't need it. If someone asked for $20, I'd give it rather than go through the aggravation."
Nelson pointed out that there are plenty of other ways to raise money such as bake sales, carnivals and rag drives, if they are approved by the principal.
However, board members agreed that the proper vehicle for district fund-raising is the non-profit Murray School District Foundation. The foundation includes local civic, community and business leaders as well as a representative from every Murray school, who can point out equipment and other school needs.
Board members decided to include a new statement in the policy that spells out the foundation's role as the district's fund-raising arm.