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School Board: No Policy Against Out-Of-Town Fundraisers

Local PTA leaders confronted the school board Monday and complained that the district was undermining a fundraiser because it benefited businesses outside the city of Monrovia.

School board members said Monday that no district policy exists barring fundraisers that benefit out-of-town businesses from being advertised through official district communications after a local PTA .

PTA President Kim Petulla addressed the board Monday and read a letter protesting the removal of fundraiser information from school marquees and announcements. She singled out Board Member Rob Hammond for consternation after he made it known that he didn't think the district should be promoting fundraisers that draw business outside the city.

Hammond complained to Superintendent Linda Wagner in December when he saw the Westfield fundraiser advertised on the marquee, and Wagner then removed the ad. She said Monday that the fundraiser was removed so that the district could review its policy governing the promotion of fundraisers.

"It was kind of more, 'Hey, let's take a step back' than it was 'Hey, you've got to take this thing down.'"

Petulla was joined by other concerned parents at the podium Thursday who called on the district to allow out-of-town fundraisers to be promoted through official district channels.

"I don't really care where they get the money from," said Mayflower parent Elaine Rodriguez, quoting a local business owner she spoke with. "As a matter of fact, if other communities are able to help our schools, why not. Let them. More power to them if they can get help from other people outside the community."

Mayflower parent John Wilson, who also serves as executive director of the , reminded the board that the district takes in thousands of dollars in grant funding that comes from organizations outside its borders.

Petulla's PTA raises more than $80,000 per year, and she said it couldn't do so without the support of businesses outside Monrovia.

School Board President noted that no policy exists that prevents outside fundraisers from being promoted by the district. The board will be reviewing its fundraiser promotion policy at a meeting next month, he said.

Petulla wrote on Patch Tuesday and said that February is too long to wait.

"I thought it should have been discussed last night as this has been going on for weeks," she wrote. "We cannot wait until sometime in February. Every day we are losing money. The money might seem minuscule to some but it is so important and desperately needed at the school."

Board Member Rob Hammond renewed his objections to sending business outside the city. Petulla questioned whether it was a conflict of interest for Hammond to oppose promotion of outside fundraisers because he owns in Old Town.

"I don't think it's a conflict supporting my community at all," Hammond said. "I certainly wouldn't want to encourage somebody to go spend money outside the city at the expense of somebody in the city. I don't think that's a good idea."

Hammond invited Petulla to speak with him privately about the issue and the two agreed to meet.

Kim Petulla January 24, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Board Member Hammond asked if I would like to meet privately or publicly. I have spoke to the President of the Monrovia PTA Council and we would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Hammond to attend our next Council meeting. This is not a discussion between myself and Mr. Hammond. This is a discussion between the PTA's of this city and the school board. Our next meeting is Tuesday, February 7 at 7pm in the MUSD boardroom. I hope all can attend. On a side note: again I would like to ask that until such a policy is stated, I would like to see Westfield back on the marquee at Clifton.
Kim Petulla January 24, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I am so sorry. I meant to invite the entire school board to our next meeting.
Ernie Woof January 24, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I think the PTA should picket under the marquee until the notice of their fundraiser is restored.
John Rizzi January 24, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I think its a great idea.. And the promotion should go back up. Clearly this looks like a POLITICIAN who looks to serve the interests of the children second... too bad.
Gayle M. Montgomery January 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I think we need to separate the interests of the Chamber of Commerce from those of the schools unless it can be shown the Chamber wants to replace the potential lost revenue to the PTA. It's a moot point now, but I think it's one we need to be clear about. I believe we need to support local businesses, and do, but we also need to creative in finding revenue sources for the schools to pick up the slack, especially in these difficult times, and not gray the lines between commerce and education.
Pam Fitzpatrick January 26, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I want to be really clear here: I have NEVER heard a local business equate their contributions to our schools with potential return patronage of their business. We don't give to our kids in order to get business back from the community, and we don't want to restrict fundraising to what we can offer. Monrovia businesses support our kids with no strings attached. Go find the $$ where you can!
Gayle M. Montgomery January 26, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Pam, I couldn't agree more, and believe the Doll Makers has been a great Monrovia citizen. In the article, above, however, advertising was being banned from the site because it could potentially benefit Arcadia business and not Monrovia. The objective was not directly to benefit business, though it could be argued a funder at a mall is designed to do just that, but rather to benefit the schools. My only point is that, if we made such restrictions from a school board perspective saying only Monrovia businesses could be advertised on funders, this would inhibit funding for the PTA, and the in-town organization should then step in to pick up the slack. I've paid more for things on occasion specifically to support local business, so I get the need to support local commerce. I just would hate to see anything done that would preclude schools getting much needed funding to supplement that which has been lost due to one budget catastrophe after another. Again, as the article states, this is now moot in that the position has been reversed. Having been involved in philanthropy for nigh on three decades, and having raised buckets of money, I know what a struggle it is for organizations to get funding, especially in this upside down economy, so we should go so far as to relax some restrictions if it would help them to secure needed dollars.
Joe Black January 26, 2012 at 06:26 AM
I find it amusing, but not surprised that Mr Hammond is complaining about this. Given he is a local Merchant it seems like he is looking out for his own best interests rather than the interests of the students. Mr Hammond, are you willing to Pony Up the $ the fundraiser would provide? I say put up or shut up!
Gayle M. Montgomery January 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Those passionate about helping our schools should read my just published blog on DonorsChoose. It is important to note that Mrs. Povinelli, at Bradoaks School, has a project listed. At time of writing this on Wednesday, she needed $280 more to provide educational resources for her combined 1st and 2nd grade students. If she does not meet the goal, the monies already donated will go to another educational project. The due date for her project is 01/30. Please share this note liberally with all teachers and anyone who knows the value of quality education. http://monrovia.patch.com/blog_posts/donorschoose-an-easy-way-to-donate-to-local-schools
Pam Fitzpatrick January 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Totally agree with you.
Carmen Martinez February 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Update: The marquee sign is back up, and Mr. Hammond has agreed to donate an acousting guitar for a PTA fundraiser. IF YOU SHOP at the Westfield mall, please bring your receipts (or mail them) to Clifton. During concierge hours you can also take your receipts there, ask the concierge to give credit to Clifton and you will get your receipts right back.

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