DALLAS (CBS11) — In our increasingly connected world, the old-fashioned car washes and cookie dough fundraisers are going online. But Dallas school officials are pulling the plug on crowdfunding efforts — citing too many grey areas, the crowdfunding fees and lack of oversight.
The ban is troubling to school sponsors in communities that aren’t exactly flush with cash.
“We just can’t afford it at all,” said Leah Longoria Huggins, the dance director at Dallas’ Sunset High. “We start [fundraising ] in June, just to go to an event in January.”
The district provides a limited budget for uniforms, but invitations to travel must be financed by the team. Like many school sponsored groups, the Sunset High Dance Team has turned to crowdfunding to reach alumni and other supporters outside their community.
Huggins says her family and friends know how much she loves her job, so they happily support the team — and they do so online.
“They’re not down here in Oak Cliff for our car washes and spaghetti dinners,” Huggins said, “so without crowdfunding that really limits a lot of what we can do.”
Dallas school leaders don’t dismiss the need for outside fundraising to support school activities but are looking to bring the effort inside.
“Handling cash can get a little tricky,” said Paula Blackmon, a senior executive director with DISD.
Blackmon is responsible for Intergovernmental Relations and Community Engagement. She says administrators have recently seen an uptick in questions from school sponsors about how GoFundMe and Kickstarter-type fundraising campaigns should be handled.
“We want to protect the donor and the district as well as provide a service to our teachers and our students,” Blackmon said.
District staffers hope to have DISD’s internal fundraising portal online by the beginning of the year.
“It’s basically a database where people can go and pull down a menu from a certain school, click here to donate to this and we’ll then release the funds how they see fit,” said Blackmon, who admits that staffers are still working out the details.
But one thing is certain: The process will change. School sponsors, meanwhile, remain hopeful that it will be a change for the better.
“If they can find a way for us to do that, it would be very helpful,” Huggins said.
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