The Public School System will revisit its policy and regulations on education tax credit donations and other school fundraisers due to the limited budget allotted for school operations this new fiscal year.
Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D, told Saipan Tribune that she will be allowing more fundraising campaigns to take place this school year to help schools address their “essential” needs.
PSS first tightened its rules on school fundraisers in school year 2010, stopping all school-organized fundraisers in and outside school campuses. It allowed Parents-Teachers-School Associations to spearhead all fundraising campaigns only for specific and approved projects by PSS.
“This year, it's going to be different because we will encourage schools to conduct fundraisers so they can address their most immediate, or essential needs,” Sablan said.
“We're reviewing our regulations [on ETC] and see what we can do to support our schools. We already instructed our schools that before any non-appropriated project is conducted, the PTSA has to go through certification seminar for accounting purposes and for them to understand the policy in place,” said Sablan, adding that before a fundraiser is conducted, the school has to submit all reports of the previous year's fundraising campaigns.
She defined non-appropriated funds as monies received by schools outside of the budget they get from local appropriation. These include educational tax credits, donations, and fundraising monies.
These may include salaries for a substitute teacher, school supplies, fuel, repairs, and others that directly benefit schoolchildren.
Despite these more relaxed rules on school fundraisers, Sablan prefers these campaigns to be done outside school campuses to avoid disrupting students' lessons. Sablan said she will also request teachers and school administrators not to participate in these fundraisers so they could concentrate on teaching.
This fiscal year 2013, PSS was given a budget of only $30 million, of which only $1 million is for the operational needs of 19 campuses and Head Start centers.