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Staff writer

The St. Mary’s school board plans to ease up on a policy enacted last year that did not allow school employees to serve on executive boards of PTAs and other school-affiliated groups.

The board of education last September changed its policy regarding fundraising efforts of PTAs, band boosters and similar groups. As part of that change, the new policy did not allow for school employees to serve on the boards of the school organizations because of potential ethical issues. They were still allowed to be general members of such groups.

Last week the board heard a proposal to allow a revision to that policy to allow employees to serve as vice president or secretary. They would still not be allowed to serve as a group’s president or treasurer, but can serve as an ex officio member, according to the policy.

“It’s a very simple adjustment that’s been well thought out,” Superintendent Michael Martirano said.

The rule irked some parents and employees last year, prompting the revision this month, Greg Nourse, assistant superintendent of fiscal services and human resources, said. He said some PTAs are having trouble filling the spots on their executive boards.

School board member Cathy Allen said she had heard of problems with the policy since last year, including a staff member who could not serve on the board of a child’s PTA, even if it was at a different school from where the parent worked.

School employees should still not to be involved in an organization’s financial affairs, including as an authorized signer on any bank account, according to the policy.

“I think this is a reasonable compromise,” Allen said.

The other board members agreed, and after a public comment period they plan to vote on the revision.

The policy approved last year also outlined several things these parent organizations can and cannot do, including limits on how funds raised can be spent. The policy addresses some concerns that have cropped up during the last few years, according to school officials.

While such groups offer great benefits for schools, Nourse said at the time, “There’s no control out there.”

Groups can give awards to individual school employees as long as they do not exceed $20 in value. They cannot spend money to pay an employee’s salary, such as hiring an extra paraeducator.

They can buy specific equipment or classroom supplies, but not computers, which are controlled by the school system’s information technology department.