State issues guidance on using crowdfunding for schools


Staff report

COLUMBUS

State Auditor Dave Yost has issued guidance on using crowdfunding – online fundraising that helps teachers and schools solicit donations of money and supplies.

Teachers and school districts have turned to crowdfunding in recent years. Before the practice, many teachers used their own funds to supplement classroom supplies and curriculum needs.

Yost’s office sent a survey to Ohio school districts that revealed most do not have a crowdfunding policy. The need for regulating crowdfunding stems from risks for teachers and their districts, he said, including violations of Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and violations of school financing laws.

Yost’s report said the new crowdfunding policies include:

Requiring that all crowdfunding campaigns be reviewed and approved by a designated school administrator.

Directing the designated administrator ensures the proposed crowdfunding campaign does not violate any federal or state law.

Ensuring the campaign seeks donations that comply with the district’s philosophy, needs and technical infrastructure.

Mandating that no donations be accepted without school board approval.

Establishing that all crowdfunding donations are the property of the school district to be entered promptly into property inventory or deposited in district bank accounts.

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