Stricter Compliance with DOE Fundraising Guidelines Enforced

There is stricter adherence to DOE fundraising guidelines that may affect many clubs and student organizations.

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By Reya Miller

With the retirement of Stuyvesant’s previous Business Manager, Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram has taken over the role. In an effort to streamline compliance with the Department of Education (DOE) regulations, stricter guidelines have been placed on club fundraising. In collaboration with Principal Yu and Dr. Haber, Ingram updated the Treasury Memo to Staff this past September and formed fundraising guidelines for clubs, pubs, teams, and their faculty advisors and coaches.

Efforts to comply with the DOE’s Standard Operating Procedures Manual, DOE policies, and the Chancellor’s Regulations may lead to changes in the way some clubs fundraise. Changes require clubs to obtain authorization for the collection of funds, obey fundraising requirements such as ensuring a faculty advisor or parent volunteer is present, count collected funds, and submit required documentation. Fundraisers outside but near school grounds have also been limited because of safety concerns.

Ingram recognizes the role of the administration in helping clubs maximize fundraising and ensuring that they act in accordance with the rules. “The greatest impact on clubs is the planning and documentation they are required to submit; but we are here to support them in planning, provide detailed instructions, collaborate with the [Parents’ Association (PA)] to arrange for parent volunteers, and are striving to provide as many opportunities for clubs to fundraise as possible within the confines of the rules,” Ingram said in an e-mail interview.

According to Stuyvesant Student Union President Ryan Lee, these guidelines are not new but are now being more strictly enforced. Efforts for greater compliance started in the 2021-2022 school year when administration met with faculty advisors, clubs, and student leaders. “In terms of fundraising, these have been the rules for the past couple of years. Due to the previous audits to Stuy and the way the administration is looking to compact everything, it’s just a matter of them being reinforced, and you can see that with a lot of ‘new’ policies,” Lee said.

Ingram recognizes the limitations of these fundraising regulations but sees the opportunity for discussion between administration and students to find solutions. “Where it isn’t possible for students to fundraise (i.e. no adult available to supervise), our Parents’ Association and Alumni Association [have] been generously supporting efforts to supplement extracurricular activities as much as possible,” she said. “There are also opportunities each semester to apply for appropriations from the PA for projects or events that clubs wish to pursue.”

Some organizations remain flexible and have adjusted to these new guidelines and rules. “Specifically with fundraising and tracking, we’ve been pretty adaptable. It hasn’t impacted us in a substantial way because we’ve found our ways in getting around it and also developed our own systems to be able to track such sales,” Lee said.

Other clubs, such as Stuyvesant Girl Up, will not see a direct impact on their club because money raised through fundraising is used primarily for donations outside of the school. “Stuyvesant Girl Up’s fundraisers are all for charity. We donate any money we make to the larger Girl Up Foundation or other social justice organizations, like the National Network of Abortion Funds,” senior and club president Lianne Ohayon said in an e-mail interview.

However, many clubs, teams, and activities rely on fundraisers as a source of income in addition to their budget. “Indicator does the annual flower sale. This year, we’ve had the breakfast sale during the senior sunrise, a bake sale during homecoming, and a bake sale during Stuy Open House. Fundraisers are crucial for the Indicator because these are funds that help reduce the cost of the yearbook per person,” senior and Indicator Business Editor Melody Lew said.

The limitations of these rules have affected these clubs, including the Indicator. “Every sale being recorded is sort of inconvenient because it can get a bit chaotic when doing the sales. Sometimes we even get a few confused looks when we ask a non-Stuy customer for their name and e-mail,” Lew said. “It is upsetting that we can’t have outside fundraisers because that limits some of our fun ideas for fundraisers and we lose out on potential profits.”

Recognizing the frustrations of clubs, the administration hopes to resolve such issues by providing additional funds to offset potentially smaller budgets. “We’re working to ensure that there is still funding for extracurriculars by collaborating with the Student Union, the Alumni Association, and the Parents’ Association and reviewing how best we can use [school] funds to supplement them as much as possible,” Ingram said.