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Are Christmas gifts to teachers wrong?

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Are Christmas gifts to teachers wrong?

I am currently President of our school's parents’ organization and recently learned that over the past 10 years "monetary gifts" were given to every employee at our school. This information was never passed on to parents, so in addition parents collect class funds toward a gift. Our purpose is to raise $25,000 for a school assessment, and to enrich the lives of our students. Is it wrong to utilize fundraising money to furnish Christmas gifts for teachers without telling the members?

You don’t say whether the organization is separately incorporated with voting members or merely a committee of the school.  Assuming that it is separately incorporated with voting members, the members normally have a right to an annual financial report of the organization, and that report should show, at least in general terms, how the funds were raised and spent.  If it is just a committee, the members may have no legal right to the information.

As to whether it is “wrong” to make the gifts, it is probably within the general purpose of a school parents’ organization (or committee), and therefore not illegal, to support staff with additional funding, even individual Christmas gifts.  It could be an illegal solicitation if requests for support are based on an actual misrepresentation.  But in this age of transparency and accountability, you could say it is “wrong,” though probably not illegal, if the parents who are supporting the organization do not know what is being done with their support. They should be able to make their own decisions on how they want to support the organization.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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