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Jasper904 Jasper904 is offline
 
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:05 PM
 
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We have a committee that helps fundraise for staff birthdays, baby showers, and random teacher appreciation days (like donuts and snacks). Teachers pay an annual fee at the start of the school year to help support these causes and I’m glad to contribute my yearly dues.

Here’s where I have the problem. Last year was the first year that we were asked to contribute twice in the year. OK fine. But why ask me to contribute additional funds for birthdays on top of that? Basically double and triple dipping because I have to keep giving money to people because it’s their birthday even though I already contributed money to the committee.


Last year they asked for so many financial contributions that I actually had to tell them no towards the end of the school years.

It’s like people forget that teachers already are on a limited salary and we pay for materials out of pocket. I don’t always have the money to contribute towards someone’s birthday. Asking me to contribute $20 or $25 several times a month is financially exhausting. I’m at the point where I wish they would just stop asking and guilting people to contribute to every single life event. Half of the people that I had to give money/gifts to can’t even stand me and that’s where I also have an issue. You don’t even say hi to me and you act like I don’t exist, yet I have to give you a gift card.

If I don’t donate then I’m the bad guy and I’m not a team player. How does your school handle this?



Last edited by Jasper904; 06-23-2022 at 12:21 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:43 PM
 
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I have not taught at a school where this is done. I think I would continue to donate to the general pot at the beginning of the year and be done.
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Old 06-23-2022, 03:28 AM
 
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Years ago my school had a fund like that for showers and griveneces. Many people stopped contributing so it just stopped. Now if something needs to be done someone goes around with an envelope and you contribute what you want and sign a card. I think this works well for mostly everyone and these special occasions are still being acknowledged.
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Old 06-23-2022, 04:20 AM
 
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We have a sunshine committee at my school. You pay “dues” at the beginning of the year, I think ours are up to $30.

I still don’t understand the way they run the committee, at my previous school that money covered everything for the school year. Now, it’s used for treats (candy, chips, soda) every so often and that’s it.

Wedding or baby showers we collect money as a team.. normally $5 or $10 each person and each team is responsible for throwing the shower(s) (so even more money!). I am at a pretty large school, there were 4 babies and a wedding just last year. Sunshine doesn’t do anything for the showers.

We do not do anything for birthdays as a school. My team does, we each get a person and just bring a small treat for the team on that person’s birthday.

When we used to do a holiday party and an end of year party, even if we had paid our dues we still had to give more money.

I stopped paying the dues at the beginning of the school year.
I agree, the amount of money put out each year for all of this is pretty crazy. We had 2 pregnancies on my team last year plus all the other showers/retirements/etc. I was out over $100.

I, personally, don’t even think that showers at work should even be a thing but I know I’m probably in the minority with that feeling.
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Old 06-23-2022, 05:10 AM
 
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I've never been anywhere that had a set $ amount to fund this sort of thing. I think I'd almost appreciate that, though, because I, too, really hated having to kick in for gifts for people I didn't even like and who didn't like me. I might have felt less bitter if it was just something I had to contribute to periodically without knowing how it would be spent.

That being said, though, I think it's all stupid. I thought so even when I was the recipient of these kinds of gifts. I got very sick of being forced to pretend I was friends with all my coworkers so that some administrator could feel proud of how much "teamwork" he/she had fostered among the staff. I can be a team player without being a personal friend. It's easier, in fact, when I'm not annoyed all the time by having someone force me into pretense.

And, it seems the list of things that teachers are expected to spend money on is endless. It's not just gifts for coworkers or supplies for their classroom: it's every fundraiser (and there are a lot!), it's every "spiritwear" sale, it's a contribution to every basket raffle....the list just goes on and on.


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Old 06-23-2022, 06:27 AM
 
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I understand your annoyance. We had a Sunshine Committee that was supposed to cover memorial flowers, something for secretary’s day, cards for birthdays, weddings and babies.

Over the years, it became the norm to have full on showers, birthday celebrations, etc. and more money was asked for. Sunshine Committee raised the dues and it still didn’t cover. I only gave when I wanted to.

And there was always an argument as to who should contribute to the general fund and how much? Certificated staff paid X amount, part time and paras paid half that amount (but fully participated in events), etc. and some teachers just never paid, but participated.

Eventually there was enough of an uproar that all the “extra” celebrations either stopped, or were covered by that person’s team.
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Old 06-23-2022, 06:56 AM
 
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We ended up having a staff vote on what we wanted because it did get ridiculous. Now we donít do flowers for anything but do cards. Special occasions are by donation. So if you want to participate you can or not.
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Old 06-23-2022, 09:11 AM
 
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I hate how we have to pay to feel appreciated when we would all just prefer our money. A district I used to work at was the lowest paid district in the area, but it had high morale. One of the ways the district boost morale is by having a themed potluck EVERY month. So, as a single teacher who doesn't cook and is living paycheck to paycheck, I was required to contribute to the theme. I would have rather ate lunch in my room alone and saved my money, but that was prohibited. So, one time it was soup, which sounds easy, but that was the most costly and stress induced potluck that I had to contribute to. Most teachers were making homemade soup, which I couldn't because I don't cook, so it took me DAYS to figure out how to get enough soup to feed everyone for a cheap price. It costs me so much money to provide soup for everyone since most store bought soup only serves a family size of four people.

Anyways, I wonder if you and faculty would prefer not having a birthday celebrated if it meant saving money? I know I would.
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Old 06-23-2022, 09:39 AM
 
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Oh, hereís me hopping on my soapbox:

Pay $30-$40 at the beginning of the year to Sunshine Committee. Plus money for baby showers (for a person in the building less than a year), engagement, etc.

Iím not married, no kids, and thank goodness, no deaths in the family. I leave the building after 10 years and get nothing. Not that I want anything, but itís the principle.

So, I think these are a huge scam and punish people who are single. The intentions are good, executions are lacking.
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Old 06-23-2022, 10:38 AM
 
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Quote:
So, I think these are a huge scam and punish people who are single.
I agree. My music colleague, who is single, was always annoyed by this. I got married according to a tradition where we had to GIVE gifts, not get them, and I got married and had a child before I began teaching. (Good thing, too, since becoming a mother was a good choice for me. If I had started teaching before I had a child, I might well have opted to remain childless!)

Anybody might have a death in their family and, while I appreciate the thought behind it, for me it meant making a smallish donation to charity and having to write a gazillion thank you cards.

The public school district where I taught most of my career at least had some guidelines: baby showers for first babies only, sympathy donations for immediate family only


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Old 06-23-2022, 11:19 AM
 
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So at one of my previous school I worked there for 15 years. I had my kids before I worked there. I got married before I worked there. I got divorced when I worked there. I paid 35.00 every year for Sunshine but had never had a reason for them to do anything for me. The year before I got remarried they made a rule that only first kids and first marriages got a shower. Previously they had done any baby or marriage. That pissed me ALL THE WAY OFF considering I had paid in for years and never had any events.

The next year several people (including me) didn't join because of the new rules and were continually harassed all year for not joining. They even made up a rule that if you didn't pay sunshine you couldn't drink the coffee from the pot in the lounge (this was before K cups lol) That had never been a rule. Like I gave 15 years of my life here and can't have a freaking cup of coffee?

It really messed up morale and people feeling valued. So much for SUNSHINE huh?
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Old 06-23-2022, 12:11 PM
 
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I stopped giving to our sunshine club a couple years ago for the same reasons many posters already shared. I have worked at this district for 9 years and have been hospitalized a couple times, once for 5 days, and have had 2 deaths in the immediate family. I never received hospital flowers or a memorial gift for those events, which is what the funds are for. It bothered me, but I tried not to dwell on it, and continued to donate because the sunshine club is about giving not receiving, right? A couple years ago I found out how much money was in that fund and that they were sending memorial cards/monetary gifts and hospital flowers to people who no longer worked in our district and hadn't for a long time. I also found out they were buying wedding/baby gifts and grandma/grandpa gifts for people who don't dontate to the club to begin with. Wedding, baby, and grandparent gifts are not what the club funds were to be used for. It is a popularity contest. Only a select few are given gifts, regardless if they donate to the club or not, and apparently for whatever life event the secretary decides is important. I have kept my $30 ever since and if a coworker has a death I give a personal card and a memorial gift of my choice.
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Old 06-23-2022, 12:16 PM
 
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I have issues with sunshine committee dues as well. The school I worked at for many years collected dues but grade levels were expected to fund baby showers and wedding showers. I think the only thing the sunshine committee ever bought was flowers for someone that lost a family member and a candy bar for someone’s birthday. We also had monthly potlucks that we were expected to buy and bring food for.

Many people just stopped contributing. I really did not see the point in spending $30 to get a candy on my birthday and I would rather donate towards flowers when needed.

Now I work at two schools so that would be double the funds. I’m not even there for most of the celebrations so I don’t contribute or participate. I have contributed to gift certificates for food for team members going through a rough time. Even then I had to explain that I have DOUBLE the teams so I would not be able to contribute to everything.

Also, I notice what many on here are stating that the gifts seem to go to specific people. I was asked to donate gift certificates for food for a teacher and assumed that the teacher was having surgery or something big happened. Nope. Her daughter was sick with an ear infection. This was during Covid when a lot of teachers were out with sick children. Another time I was asked to spend $30 on a lunch for someone leaving the school even though I didn’t work with her very much and three other teachers were leaving as well. Those teachers didn’t get a goodbye lunch. I said I wouldn’t be in the building for that one.
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Old 06-23-2022, 12:27 PM
 
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I pay into the Sunhine Club-- I pay for Jeans Days for charity-- I occasionally pay into the random envelope that gets passed my way...

What I hate is when they pass an envelope for ADMIN-- those @#$%ers are already making 2X-4X what I am. WTF... They don't need gifts from us-- they do not deserve gifts that big from us... and it is never "pay what you can/want..."--it is always a suggested amount of at least $10--that is a lot of money.
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Old 06-23-2022, 03:34 PM
 
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I don't have anything new to add to this conversation, but did want to say I have found my people!
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Old 06-23-2022, 04:08 PM
 
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Iím retired but when I was working I contributed to the Sunshine fund at the beginning of the year, and that was it! If later there was some unexpected life event that involved someone I truly cared about, then I would make an additional contribution, otherwise I politely declined. And, by the time I was forty I decided I wasnít going to another shower of any kind unless it was for a co-worker who was also a personal friend.
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Old 06-23-2022, 04:17 PM
 
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I contributed to the sunshine fund for way too long. I saw that the gifts went to certain people.

My dad died - nothing. I had surgery and then was in a cast - nothing. My DH had cancer, surgery and I lost a full quarter of work caring for him - nothing.

I stopped donating, even to the extra requests. I got nothing when I retired either. In the past, I even went to parties for people retiring. It took me way too long to finally realize that work is work, and coworkers are 'friends' only at work.
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Old 06-23-2022, 05:26 PM
 
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Single, summer birthday, not in the ďcoolĒ club...yeah, I paid and paid and paid and it only went one way. Iím not bitter.
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Old 06-23-2022, 07:18 PM
 
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I guess our Sunshine Fund was a bit better than many of yours! Yes, it had its faults, but once a month on Friday, the Sunshine Fund provided donuts in the lounge. I do realize we were buying our own treats, but it was something to look forward to.
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Old 06-24-2022, 12:18 AM
 
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This whole scenario is something that has always peeved me too. When I started, I was instructed to give $30 to the "Sunshine fund." They would actually track you down if you didn't pay it. I was making $38K (pre-tax) and paying $1100 per month in rent at the time. The ONLY reason I didn't go into serious debt was that I've been blessed with family help along the way and had no student loans or car payment.

On top of that, we would have baby and wedding showers constantly. Like 8-10 per year. And it was expected that each team contribute a gift in that case. What were my $30 being used for then?? People started to complain, and at the time there were many veteran teachers who had been at the school 20-30 years. They held firm to "this is what we've always done." Well, they were paying housing costs that were probably 1/8 what the rest of us were paying (if you got a house before the boom here), plus being the highest paid employees on top of it.

After several of those people retired, the "new committee" sent out a survey. People did not want to do the sunshine fund, but the showers continued. A previous teammate used to be obsessive about us all paying $10 toward a gift for every single one. Now that she's also gone, that too has gone by the wayside. I will get a gift/go in with teammates for a gift if the shower is for someone I actually have a personal relationship with. There are intermediate teachers in my building (I work in primary) who truly cannot even remember my name or my role at the school. Why would I spend money on getting someone like that a gift?

This year, the committee decided they wanted to bring back "Sunshine fund" as well. They passed out the envelopes. I did not contribute. They lamented that they got very few of them back. I'm not sure why we can't just read the room.

As others have pointed out, I am single and child-free, and thus will not ever be getting a shower/gifts for myself. My teammate actually wanted to have a "house-warming shower" for me when I bought my house, saying it's not fair that single people, who actually need the items more than people who are combining two houses, don't get anything. I didn't let her do it because I felt people would be too judmental and it wouldn't be worth it.

We did have one teacher this year who was famous for going on totally random rants. Towards the end of the year, one of them was that we should do ONE shower for the entire year. If you "think you're having a baby this year" you put your name on it. Obviously that went over like a lead balloon. It was pretty funny though.
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Iím glad itís not just me!
Old 06-24-2022, 05:59 AM
 
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Thank you all so much for your replies! This makes me feel much better because I am not going to contribute this year. It’s $50 a year on top of still asking for contributions for birthdays, showers, and even people that quit!! I just can’t do it anymore. We are entering a very tough economic season and I need to be prepared.

I’m just going to be contributing based on the event like I did in the past.

I’m going to have to really start raining in my spending habits as a teacher. That includes next year’s classroom decor.

Last edited by Jasper904; 06-24-2022 at 06:02 AM.. Reason: Added details
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Old 06-24-2022, 06:00 AM
 
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Quote:
We did have one teacher this year who was famous for going on totally random rants. Towards the end of the year, one of them was that we should do ONE shower for the entire year. If you "think you're having a baby this year" you put your name on it.
OMG, this woman and I would be *best friends*!
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Old 06-24-2022, 10:34 AM
 
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The social committee at my former school (I'm retired) charged $30 at the beginning of the year. In addition we were frequently asked to contribute to wedding and baby shower gifts. I don't love showers and often didn't attend unless the person was a friend.

People got mad at me because I didn't serve on a committee to plan a teacher's shower (she was part of my academic team).

The long time school secretary retired, and multiple (at least 20) gifts were given to her from the staff. We were expected to fork over $25-50 for all of that. The whole thing was ridiculous.
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One Shower
Old 06-24-2022, 10:35 AM
 
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I LOVE the one shower idea!!!
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Old 06-24-2022, 04:29 PM
 
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Iím also going to add that as a ďnew to the building, but not new to teachingĒ teacher, a HUGE unspoken rule in this building and district is you participate in everything, you play nicely and you join. So, will I have to pay the Sunshine Committee? Yep. Will I grumble and groan? Yep. Am I tired of this bs? Absolutely.

Dutch girl, you got hosed.
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:16 AM
 
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Wow! I had no idea teachers were being pressured (bullied) into paying for this stuff! (Makes me glad I'm a sub and not full time! )

IMHO, so much BS goes unchecked in the workplace because it's done in the guise of "teamwork." Employees comply with unreasonable demands because they want to be seen as a "team player."

My question is, has anyone tried taking this issue to your district HR or your union?

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Old 06-25-2022, 08:27 AM
 
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I had been in my building for 30+ years so have built up many relationships. We used to be a small building and with additions are now a huge building so that has it's positives and negatives. I was never on this committee but didn't mind it. Ours was part of the social committee recently and they used the funds to plan fun, social events for in the building after school, as well as the holiday parties, again at the school this year. It was fun and I appreciated paying and going and enjoying myself. I like the people I work with and loved that I didn't have to plan any of it I actually like it much better than restaurant events.

When there were showers, our grade level would just go in and get 1 gift off the registry. The $10-20 went farther that way from the team. Not all teams did this though and no one minded. Some gave individually rather than part of a team. Usually the grade level team planned the event.

We had many staff changes at the end of the year and usually, gift cards were given to those who were moving on. That hasn't happened since covid and could be because some moved on during the summer or immediately prior to school beginning in the Fall so that could be the reason why that stopped.

We had some retirements, mine included. Admin asked who wanted to be on the planning committee. We divied up the work, who ever wanted to go to the party paid in and gifts/food/decor was bought with those funds.

We've done the pass the envelope thing over the years too and that would kinda annoy me since they usually came when I was in the middle of a lesson. I did like that though because we could throw in as much or as little as we wanted and no one knew.
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Old 06-25-2022, 06:02 PM
 
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I apologize for barging in here, but I wanted to offer my sympathy and support. I've been a k-12 substitute teacher for a few years now and had no idea that ft teachers were forking out so much money for staff gifts and social events.

In my past life, I worked in private sector , professional corporate work, and i never saw this kind of elaborate (and costly) staff donation arrangement that many of you describe here. If there was a birthday, there might have been a card signed by coworkers, same if someone was resigning/retiring. Staff members might go to lunch and they'd chip in for the celebrated person's meal. Baby showers, weddings, were less frequent. Staff could chip in for a gift if they wanted. No pressure. There was no mandatory annual donation.

I'm frankly aghast at the pressure and expenses many of you have to suffer (that on top of what you're already forking out for classroom materials). And teachers' salaries are notoriously low to start with!

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 06-26-2022 at 11:02 AM..
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Old 06-28-2022, 03:37 PM
 
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Our social committee was a failure. People complained about paying, complained about the things we planned, but they never had suggestions, or wanted to help, so we just stopped.

Now it's pretty much pay as you go. You want to go to the holiday party? You pay. You want to go to the end of year luncheon? You pay. You want to participate in baby/bridal shower? You pay. You want to contribute to someone's retirement? You pay. The list goes on and on.

I really reached the end of my rope when I bought very nice baby shower gifts for two teachers and didn't receive any kind of thank you.

As I have gotten older, I no longer feel obligated to do this stuff. If I want to, I do. If I don't, then I don't.

*Our administration provides treats throughout the year, which is nice and how it should be (IMO).
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Old 06-28-2022, 04:46 PM
 
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I've never worked in a school with any sort of "sunshine fund." It was always just collecting donations as things arose. I did take exception to the time a teacher was pregnant and another teacher collected ALL wipes containers that had been collected over the years and not used (we had families purchase wipes as part of their school supplies) to give to this teacher.
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Old 06-30-2022, 03:32 AM
 
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You aren't alone in your sentiments. While attending these showers isn't mandatory, we are all called down to begin with and must then make a tactful exit. I didn't even know the last teacher we had a shower for (grade levels are in separate halls and we have no time to socialize). I live an hour from my school - forgive me if I'd rather just clean up my room and go home in the afternoons. Gimme the Fry's cupcake I contributed $20 for though!
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:10 AM
 
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At my previous the sunshine fund was very specific. It’s $20 per year and it’s voluntary. The school sends a card for wedding, new baby, or death in immediate family (spouse, parent, child). Additionally flowers or a plant is sent for death in immediate family or the staff member hospitalized overnight
, a small gift for FIRST baby, small gift for wedding. We have a separate $15 a year fund for providing coffee in the lounge, or iced tea for teachers at lunch. If you don’t drink coffee or tea, you don’t pay. This is on the honor system. The school secretary manages all the logistics of the Sunshine Fund.

Baby showers and wedding showers are a totally separate deal and are entirely voluntary. Usually the grade level team of the celebrated teacher will pitch in to host the shower, held either after school or during recess as a come and go kind of thing - you pop in, give well wishes and grab a cupcake and some punch and be on your way. Most people seemed to prefer the recess time. Overall this system works well except that if you’re on a team with several young teachers, you may end up helping to host several showers over a few years.

Last edited by apple annie; 07-01-2022 at 05:39 AM..
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Old 06-30-2022, 03:35 PM
 
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Our social committee got a little overzealous one year and we had to set limits. We set certain dollar amounts and limits for the things they covered. Hospitalizations of staff, deaths of immediate family, showers of first born children and weddings, and retirements. Bossís day, admin day, and nursesí day were all covered. A separate collection was held for the principalís Christmas gift. We only had to ask for more on year in the several that I remember after the guidelines were put in place. Unfortunately, we had many illnesses and deaths that year.
Teacher appreciation and treats were all handled by the PTO.
We did not do birthdays! Birthdays for all the adults donít have to be recognized, there are too many of them to keep up with and it just becomes a pain.
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