Some of those projects had already been partially funded via regular crowdfunding donors, and Gaga’s foundation covered the rest of the cost.
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Projects from Dayton Public Schools are not listed on the site, however, because last September the school board approved a policy prohibiting school employees from launching crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of Dayton Public Schools or any individual school.
The board made its decision after the Ohio Auditor’s office encouraged schools to set formal crowdfunding policies. The Auditor’s office said allowing the donations without rules created the potential for improper project requests or donations being diverted for private use.
At the time, Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said DPS had funding streams available for many items that teachers can tap into. But with no mechanism to track crowdfunding, she said DPS didn’t want to make “an error in judgment” by allowing the process and then not having the manpower to control it.
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School board Vice President Jocelyn Rhynard said Sunday that the board voted to prohibit crowdfunding just to create time to review the best policy going forward. She said after getting advice from the Ohio School Boards Association, she had hoped to make progress this summer, but the two school board policy committee meetings did not have a quorum.
“We have a policy meeting I believe on Aug. 20 before the review meeting where this will be on the agenda,” Rhynard said. “It’s frustrating that we don’t have policy put in place, but we want to make sure that this is done thoughtfully with all of the contingencies worked out beforehand so there are fewer problems afterward.”
Rhynard said the draft policy would make Donors Choose the sole permitted crowdfunding site for DPS staff, with guidelines on what projects can be pursued.
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“It does need to be in line with academic goals, and there should be somebody (from DPS) who oversees it, just in case something (is proposed) that takes away from our mission,” she said.