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Steel Valley school board president seeks donation policy

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 1:56 a.m.

Steel Valley school board president Donna Kiefer said she wants every donation to the district to be submitted for board approval.

“I feel people are not following board policy,” Kiefer said at a workshop meeting on Monday. “They accept donations, whether it's from the administrators down to parents. We have a policy in place, and we chose to ignore it and do whatever we feel we want to do. If that's the case, we need to take our board policy book and just throw it in the garbage ... What does this make our board look like? People really want to know the truth.

School director Mike Terrick said the district must consider the donor's position, and that person or organization not receiving a tax deduction if the charitable contribution is not accepted by the district.

“Those are very important elements to consider, that we must accept it under IRS rules as a donation,” Terrick said.

Kiefer said a call from the Homestead Lions Club about a $500 donation toward a senior class reception, organized largely by senior advisor Beth McCallister, caught her off guard and sparked her outrage.

The Lions Club official lauded McCallister for her thank-you cards and pictures, but the club's donation was never mentioned to the board, Kiefer said.

That donation was one of many in the reception fundraising effort that the board previously approved, school director Beth Cannon said.

Cannon said Kiefer's example was not a good illustration because “the board did know that there was going to be donations received,” and McCallister had a list of donors. Cannon commended McCallister for making the event a success.

Kiefer reiterated her stance on having the board know about donations and apologized for her comments about McCallister.

“My using Mrs. McCallister was a bad choice,” Kiefer said on Tuesday. “How do you say thank you for something (as a board) when you don't know about it?”

The board plans to vote during its regular meeting on Thursday to accept a $96,445.69 donation from the Campbell Educational and Community Foundation to purchase educational items for Barrett Elementary School.

District officials addressed concerns about enforcing the new dress code when it comes to changing clothes after physical education classes.

Superintendent Ed Wehrer said the issue will be monitored and further discussed before coming to a definitive conclusion.

School directors adjourned the workshop meeting and entered an executive session for personnel matters.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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