Dorchester District Two might need to get creative this year with fundraising for schools.
For decades, said DD2 board member Tanya Robinson, school Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) have been able to assist their schools with many needs from playground equipment, to teacher mini-grants, to lab equipment, to scholarships, to landscaping and more.
“Naturally fundraising, with a goal in mind, has allowed the success for this to take place,” she said.
Robinson is the president-elect for South Carolina’s PTA. She said much of the fundraising for schools come from the sale of snacks and candy.
With new laws, however, only foods with certain nutrition standards will be allowed to be sold during school hours on any campus.
On Aug. 1 The Summerville Journal Scene ran Trip Dubard’s guest column, “Is a new approach needed for school fundraising?” Dubard, executive director of SC Future Minds, said with the new federal nutrition program, schools might have to think of new ways to raise funds.
Dubard goes on to say it might make sense for schools to stop selling stuff to raise money.
“What most people don’t know…is how few dollars the schools actually keep,” he writes. “Would you believe only half?”
However, Robinson said, in 2012 Summerville High School’s PTSA school store reeled in “well over” a quarter of a million dollars in sales. About 95 percent of the money went directly back to the school for various needs with the remainder going towards leadership training and appreciation gifts.
Now schools must find more creative ways to comply with these new nutrition laws. For example, Robinson said, schools might have to sell nutritious snacks that meet the standards and push more toward selling school spirit items. Schools might need to consider asking for donations from alumni and business partners with a public way of thanking them.
“It will be interesting to see the creativity that takes place in light of the heavy restrictions,” she said. “My hope is our PTAs will come together and share their ideas. This will only help each school regain some momentum that will initially be lost.”
Julianne Richardson, PTA president at Joseph R. Pye Elementary, said fundraisers at Pye Elementary have been planned for fall and spring, but said she is “really anxious” to see how the nutrition standards will affect schools.
Richardson added she sees middle and high schools being more affected by the nutrition standards than elementary schools; taking candy away from older students will not necessarily make them eat healthier.
“I think it’s great to have to have healthy foods, and I think it’s great to start at a lower level,” she said, “but I think their main focus needs to be on the grade schools.”
Richardson said one method of fundraising done at Pye Elementary is selling items through Cherrydale Farms, a school fundraising company with different product brochures.
Jameson Bryant, a local representative for Cherrydale Farms, said fundraising still includes selling candy bars, but they will not be allowed to be sold on school grounds.
However, he said, items like wrapping paper and kitchenware are getting more popular among customers anyway. He is also an independent representative of Yankee Candle, another option customers seem to be going for.
Bryant does not see a lack of candy bar sales having a long-lasting effect.
“I support whatever they do,” he said. “I’m not here to break any rules but in the end I think we’re going to end up doing those sales again.”