Donation Decision Revisit: Frank Oke School

Dear Howard Parents,

At the November meeting of the Howard School Council, a decision was made to donate proceeds from an upcoming Howard fundraiser to another school. Due to issues raised following this decision, the Council Executive Committee feels that we must revisit this decision at the next Council meeting to clarify and amend the outcome.

For those who are not yet familiar with the donation request, it is to benefit Frank Oke School, a small secondary school over by Rockcliffe and Alliance that serves students across the TDSB with mild intellectual disabilities. See Frank-Oke-Proposal for more info.

Charitable giving was generally discussed at our September meeting and seemed to have wide interest. The specific proposal was presented at our October meeting and we delayed any decision on the proposal to the November meeting to allow further input from the wider parent community. At the November meeting a decision to donate the entire proceeds of the upcoming Dance-a-thon to Frank Oke was proposed and affirmed.

However, we would like to acknowledge the following issues:
1) The circulated November meeting agenda did not specify that the donation up for consideration was an allocation of Dance-a-thon proceeds.
2) The blog post prior to the meeting implied that only part of the proceeds from the Dance-a-thon would go toward Frank Oke.
3) The individual who was representing the proposal was present in the meeting for the vote. This may have caused discomfort and an unwillingness to speak out for those with opposing views.

In considering these issues together, the Council Executive committee is concerned that the process in tabling this proposal may not have been proper, despite our best intentions. While we also recognize the positive support from many parents with which the proposal passed, we find that our outcome must be revisited.

Here is our proposal to move forward: We propose a vote at the next parent council meeting to reapprove a donation of a portion of funds from the upcoming Dance-a-thon to Frank Oke School. We propose an amended donation allocation amount of $1500 specifically to fund an alumni night for the benefit of all Frank Oke students. We would also like to confirm that promotion of the fundraiser will highlight this donation of proceeds to all parents and students. Furthermore, students should also be engaged in learning a bit about Frank Oke school including a short educational piece regarding issues like autism that affect some of Frank Oke’s students. Please join us at the next meeting to vote on this proposal.

Lastly, please note that as the Council Executive, we follow the precedent of spending guidelines established by parents and distributed at the October meeting. This mandate includes considering fundraising activities for charitable causes in the broader community. See Budget2016-2017 for the full list. In light of the concerns raised with this donation decision, we would like to revisit the general topic of donations, as well as other general process concerns in the first few months of the new year. Thank you.

The Howard School Council Executive Team