May a school accept donations from parents and guardians?
Yes. Schools may accept donations of funds and property so long as the donation is truly voluntary and is not a requirement for participation in a program or activity. Any statement or explanation related to the donation that could lead a reasonable person to believe that the donation may not be truly voluntary should be avoided. The opportunity to participate in educational programs, including extracurricular activities, must not be linked to either the willingness or the ability of the student or the student’s family to pay a fee or request a fee waiver.
May a school solicit donations or engage in fundraising activities?
The law does allow school districts to request voluntary donations and engage in fundraising activities and programs. An entire school, class, sports team, or club may voluntarily participate in fundraising. These donations and fundraising financial contributions are voluntary, and all students will be allowed to participate in school activities and extracurricular activities regardless of whether the parent or legal guardian makes a donation or contribution.Schools may engage in fundraising activities and programs as long as the raising of funds is voluntary. Schools may require students to attend a fundraising event, but if the students are unable to raise funds for the event the students cannot be prevented from participating in an educational activity.
What does this mean for other fundraising organizations, such as PTA and booster clubs?
Because they are connected to the schools, they must also collect money legally. Parents and students cannot be required to provide specific funds or items and no consequences can be put on a student or family who does not donate.
Can students be recognized for their fundraising efforts?
Yes, students may receive prizes or other non-academic recognition for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities. However, students may not be singled out for their lack of participation if they who do not fundraise or make donations.
Can students be asked to participate in fundraising events?
Students can be expected to attend a fundraising event as an element of participation. For example, expecting members of a vocal ensemble to attend a fundraising concert that is on its calendar of events does not violate the "free school" guarantee, so long as attendance is the only requirement. Another example is when members of an athletic team are expected to help out with a fundraising sale at a Back to School Night or Open House, as long as the only requirement is participation in the event.