Palo Alto City Council is about to adopt a policy which states gifts to the city don't buy influence.
I wish the Palo Alto School Board would also consider adopting a policy statement around this as well, before it approves any new programs currently under consideration.
It may be more difficult for the school district to craft such a policy, because the school district is so reliant on gifts from the kindness of its neighors and surrounding business community to continue to function.
However, it would seem only appropriate that those who truly care about the long term health of the district and community, would have no issue whatsover with arms length contributions, and fully transparent disclosure.
We currently have a special interest group, (with unknown backers in unknown amounts), giving PAUSD $140,000 for the study and start up of a new specialty alternative choice program. That might seem like a good way to get things done for a school district used to begging for every incremental dime. But consider that a typical school's PTA earnings for a whole year are in the $20K - 40K range. $140,000 is a whole lot of money, which can carry a whole lot of influence, unless PAUSD is very careful to avoid this.
The School Board should protect themselves from the appearances of influence peddling by making sure special interest groups can not buy slices of the school district for private purposes.