School Board Policy 421 -
Gifts to Employees,  and School Board Members

Adopted: April 29, 1996  REVISED: May 13, 2013  Revised: march 2, 2015  
Revised: January 14, 2019
revised: December 14, 2020

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to avoid the appearance of impropriety or the perceived conflict of interest with respect to gifts given to school district employees and School Board members.

II. General Statement of Policy

A. The school district recognizes that students, parents/guardians, and others may wish to show appreciation to school district employees or School Board members.  The policy of the school district is to encourage writing of letters and notes of appreciation but to discourage gift-giving to employees and School Board members and to prohibit employees and School Board members from accepting gifts of more than nominal value from an interested person, with the exception of School Board members' acceptance of campaign contributions/donations allowed by applicable campaign finance laws.  Any gifts accepted by employees or School Board members of more than nominal value, shall become property of the District.

B. A violation of this policy occurs when an employee or School Board member solicits, accepts, or receives either by direct or indirect means, a gift of greater than nominal value from a student, parent/guardian, or other individual or organization.

C. A violation of this policy occurs when any employee or School Board member solicits, accepts, or receives a gift from a person or entity doing business with or seeking to do business with the school district. Employees may accept items of nominal value of a promotional or public relations nature, or a plaque with a resale value of $5 or less with an inscription recognizing an individual for an accomplishment. The superintendent has discretion to determine what value is "nominal".

D. Teachers may accept from publishers free samples of textbooks and other related teaching materials.

E. This policy applies only to gifts given to employees where the donor’s relationship with the employee or School Board members arises out of the employees' employment with, or School Board members' service to, the school district. It does not apply to gifts given to employees and School Board members by personal friends, family members, other employees, or others unconnected to the employees' employment with, or School Board members' service to, the school district.

F. An elected or appointed member of the school board, the school superintendent, a school principal, or a district school officer, including the school business official, may not accept a gift of greater than nominal value from an interested person.

III. Definitions

A. “Gift” means money, real or personal property, a service, a loan, a forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, or a promise of future employment, that is given without something of equal or greater value being received in return.

B. “Interested person” means a person or a representative of a person or association that has a direct financial interest in a decision that a school board member, superintendent, school principal and building administrator, or a district cabinet member is authorized to make.

C. "Financial interest" means any ownership or control in an asset which has the potential to produce a monetary return.

D. “Nominal value” means a value of $5 or less.

IV. Procedures

Any employee or school board member considering the acceptance of a gift, individually or for any component of the district, shall confer with the administration for guidance related to the interpretation and application of this policy.

V. Violations

Employees who violate the provisions of this policy may be subject to discipline, which may include reprimand, suspension, termination and/or discharge. School board members who violate the provisions of this policy may be subject to discipline in accordance with applicable statute and school district policy.

Legal References:
Minn. Stat. § 10A.07 (Conflicts of Interest)
Minn. Stat. § 10A.071 (Prohibition of Gifts)
Minn. Stat. § 15.43 (Acceptance of Advantage by State Employee; Penalty)
Minn. Stat. § 471.895 (Certain Gifts by Interested Persons Prohibited)

Cross References:
WBLASB Policy 209 (Code of Ethics)
WBLASB Policy 210 (Conflict of Interest – School Board Members)
WBLASB Policy 306 (Administrator Code of Ethics)