School fundraisers getting creative - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

School fundraisers getting creative

Dubuque County (KWWL) -- A really different idea for raising money for schools: In a cash-strapped Idaho high school, an enterprising teacher sponsored her test. The bottom of the pages include bright red coupons to a local pizza place. School officials say the ads teach students about the Great Depression.

Schools here in Iowa also seeing diminishing budgets. For years, many of us have bought candy bars or magazines from kids for school fundraisers supporting things like field trips and sports teams, but those traditional methods aren't doing the trick for some schools.

Jefferson Middle School principal Phil Kramer says their big, annual moneymaker is one big fall fundraiser, selling magazines.

"Last year, we ventured into some other products along with that, some food products as well as some specialty kinds of items to try to increase a little bit of our sales," Kramer said.

Kramer says the program meets the school's extracurricular programming needs, but things could always be better.

"I think the economy's a big factor. It's really making people think about where is that extra money they have going because other things are starting to take the place. The other part is just, it's the same fundraiser year after year, and it kind of loses its zest a little bit, so you try to find some new ideas," Kramer said.

A bit of a kink in creativity: rules and regulations about fundraisers from the state and districts. For example, Dubuque district policy says fundraising "may not involve food, or will use only foods that meet district-established nutrtion and portion size standards". So, candy bars and junk food sales are out.

Also, elementary school students can only participate in one per year; middle schoolers two per year. Another rule, no ads in schools.

Western Dubuque Schools' superintendent tells us some advertising is allowed in his district, local businesses can buy spots at their indoor sports courts, but not everything will fly. The district looked into selling ads on its school busses, but state policies knocked that idea out.

"What you're really trying to find from our position here, not only a new idea, but something that is the least amount of work it can be for us," Kramer said. He adds the company the school currently works with does all of the leg work, so time isn't taken away from educational time.

Another thing making fundraising more essential for schools, the new field trip laws. The legislature passed a new law stating schools cannot ask parent for *any* money for field trips.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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