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APS Considers Limiting Teacher Gifts

by Ethan Rothstein — October 28, 2013 at 10:00 am 2,372 0

Second grade teacher Elizabeth Abraham is presented with the Va. Lottery "Super Teacher" award (courtesy Frank Bellavia/APS)Apples for the teacher will be acceptable under a new gift policy for Arlington Public Schools, as long as it’s fruit and not electronics.

APS is circulating a proposed change to its gift policy for employees that would limit the amount of gifts educators can receive to $50.

The School Board will consider adopting the policy at its meeting Dec. 5, according to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. There is already an APS gift policy on the books, but it only has guidelines for gifts purchased for employees with APS funds.

The draft policy defines a gift as “cash or cash equivalent; any gratuity, discount, favor, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, services, transportation, lodging and meals … and any items, event, activity or other thing(s) having monetary value given to or on behalf of an employee for his or her use or personal benefit.”

The policy reads as follows:

Employees may accept gift valued at a total of $50.00 or less during a school year from any one student, individual, family or organization, including PTAs and Booster organizations. In no instance shall an employee accept a gift for services performed within the scope of the employee’s duties or given with the intent to influence an employee’s actions. Any single gift valued at more than $50, or gifts totaling more than $50 from one giver during the course of a school year, must be returned to the giver.

The policy “provides clear guidance” on what type and value of gifts APS employees can receive from students,, their family or outside organizations, which the current policy does not, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Management Services Deirdra McLaughlin. It remains unclear how teachers will be tasked with appraising the value of gifts such as hospitality or services.

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