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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Fundraisers and School Libraries

Are fundraisers worth it anymore for school libraries? In Tennessee we can only have two tax-free fundraisers a year in a school. After that all fundraisers – even those occurring earlier in the year are taxable. If I have a bookfair and charge tax as I’m legally supposed to do then the PTO can only hold one more fundraiser in the year. That means one taxed fundraiser and one untaxed fundraiser. If I tried to hold two untaxed and the bookfair, both of the others would be taxed. It just doesn’t make sense anymore.

My Book Fairs do not earn much over $1000 cash profit. The PTO candy sales can earn $5000 easily. So why do I still bother with a book fair?

I believe the value of our bookfair is not just in the cash profit we earn, but in the entire experience of the bookfair. We try to make it an event with decorations, contests, family participation, food, and with building excitement about reading. We integrate standards into booktalks and mini-lessons. We read aloud from some of the titles and watch students eagerly purchase that title for their own collection. We talk books. We talk authors. We talk series. We talk about matching our personal interests with reading.

You cannot do those things with a candy bar or lollipop. So even though we don’t make much profit, we will continue to want to hold the event.

I am wondering though if schools will open their eyes in the future though and decide that our profit is too small to justify giving up a slot to the bookfair.

How does your state handle fundraisers?