School district donations policies could change

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Frank Schultz
Sunday, September 8, 2013

 JANESVILLE—Recent questions about donations to the Janesville School District from companies that do business with the district could result in policy changes when the school board meets Tuesday.

The questions arose after the story of Superintendent Karen Schulte's eye surgery was told in a Mercy Health System marketing publication, and Schulte asked that Mercy in return make a donation to buy classroom technology.

Among the changes the board will consider Tuesday is this change to the new policy on strategic alliances: “When a strategic alliance is formed with a vendor or a prospective vendor of goods or services to the district, Board Policy 3540 shall be strictly followed.”

Board Policy 3540 regulates purchasing decisions. It covers when competitive bidding should be used and prohibits employees from benefiting from transactions with vendors. This policy also could be changed with the addition of the following:

“No person responsible for making purchasing decisions, including the chief financial officer and the purchasing manager, shall solicit gifts from any vendor or prospective vendor of the district.”

One other proposed change, the removal of a prohibition on gifts that result in the district endorsing products or companies, is not on the agenda. That recommendation has been referred to committee for rewording, said board President Greg Ardrey.

“Administration believes endorsements of worthy vendors are consistent with the best interests of the district,” according to a memo prepared by district legal counsel David Moore.

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