Currently, the Patch newspaper (or patch.com) is running a $100,000 contest, give-away. That money could end up with the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). You can read about the contest here:
As things now stand, the newspaper article states that the $100,000 comes with “no strings attached.” It would be wonderful for MCPS to receive an extra $100,000, but note to those running the contest: please add strings to the gift.
Here are three simple strings—to be applied to the winning school district, including MCPS:
1). Before turning over the money, make the winning school district write a simple 1000 word statement on how they plan to spend the $100,000. Declaring intent might stop stupidity—buying a new luxury car for the district’s superintendent.
2). Apply at least a few spending restrictions. One might be that the winning district agrees not to spend any of the money on political lobbying. Unfortunately, districts like MCPS spend tax dollars on such activities.
3). If the school district ends up doing something unique or special with the $100,000 (e.g., it is donated to after-school tutoring programs, which is a good use of the money), the winning district agrees to share with the Patch a brief report (2,000 words) describing how the $100,000 impacted this special initiative.
I can think of other strings, but I don’t want to destroy the “spirit” of the contest. I will, however, share one story.
Years ago, when I was the co-president of the county organization that applied for a MCPS charter school, we received a $10,000 charter school planning grant from the Walton Family Foundation (MCPS had no role in the grant). The grant was extremely light on strings; however, we were required by the Foundation to submit a final grant report describing how the $10,000 was spent. It literally took less than an hour to pull together the report, with receipts attached. I think anyone spending $100,000—regardless of where the money comes from—ought to be able to handle a few light and simple strings.