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Learning Curve: Wellesley superintendent likes new gift-giving regs

Posted by Tom Coakley  February 17, 2011 04:36 PM

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The state can’t tell you what to get for that special teacher, but regulators can offer some upper limits so parents don't go too crazy with the traditional apple (or Apple gift card).

Wellesley Superintendent Bella Wong sent a memo to parents and school staff this week informing them of a new state Ethics Commission regulation that allows class gifts to a teacher to go up to $150 annually. Wong said that last year she put the kibosh on class gifts, which had been allowed for some time, after finding out from the state that such group efforts could be a violation.

“I think this is a good solution,” she said Thursday. “It means people can contribute a smaller amount and be part of a class gift.”

The individual limit of $50 (per student), which applies to all public employees, is still in place. The group gift exception is for teachers only, said Wong. And the new regulation, which went into effect Dec. 24, requires that “the individuals of the group are not named nor the amounts given by each individual listed,” Wong wrote in her memo this week.

The limit applies to gifts given to teachers for their personal use. It does not put a maximum on gifts given for use in the classroom or schools, wrote Wong.

Update: The Globe published a Page One story about the gift rules on Monday, reflecting the views of other educators and parents around the region.

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