I need your opinion of how to handle this prom situation
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/29/2013 by Donna in GA in NSBR Board
 

Donna in GA
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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:27:19 PM
I was in charge of prom at my school last year for the first time. It was a ton of work and my principal was beside himself with how well it turned out.

Just a few days after prom last spring faculty members started asking to borrow things I used to decorate for prom to use for other functions. I really don't feel comfortable doing this. The committee and I picked out quite a few things to use that we can use over again in the future and I don't want to risk them getting messed up.

I have been able to hold a lot of the requests off, but in the last couple of weeks the requests have started up again. ROTC puts on a military ball and would like to borrow some white fabric I used to transform the room. They want to trade the use of their black table cloths. They also keep contacting me with where to get things for their theme. I am in the planning process for this year's prom and don't have the time or patience to help plan another dance just a month before the prom.

How do I tell my fellow faculty members that loaning out these items is not a good idea without coming across as a major B? I will need all of their help when decorating time comes around and don't want to offend anyone.

Thanks for your feedback.

MonicaB
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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:31:22 PM
Could you keep it simple and say, "That item is not available to loan out."? No explanation? I would not want to be loaning anything out either.



biochemipea
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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:33:33 PM
I like the idea of just saying no, politely and concisely as suggested above.

If you are inclined, you could type up a brief list of some of the stores or sources you purchased from. You don't even need to list what you purchased from each source if it is too much work. When others come to you to ask where you purchased an item, you can just provide the list to them.







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Gsquaredmom

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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:36:39 PM
Why the reluctance to share? I understand wanting to protect your resource, but it seems that if there are certain items common to many dances, there should be a cooperative effort to obtain and maintain them for the entire community rather than duplicate resources. Money that goes toward purchasing the basics over and over again can be used to buy nice decor for the theme for each dance.

Now, if you really want to preserve it, the best you can do is say something like "I am sorry, but this close to prom, I would not be able to replace the items if they are lost or damaged."

I don't think I would count on help from them to decorate, however, especially the group who was williing to risk "their" resource of table cloths.

Who owns all this stuff, anyway? The more I think about it, the more wasteful and petty it all seems. What's important is that the students get what they need and want for their dance.



Captain K
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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:37:40 PM
Sorry, I think you are kind of coming across as a "B" by not loaning them out. If I understand correctly, they were picked by the committee and purchased using the prom funds/school funds, not your personal funds, correctly? It's a shame to have things sit there being unused the rest of the year when they could be going to benefit way more students.

I would suggest you draw up some sort of informal borrowing contract between the clubs/groups. IF another group damages something, they are responsible for replacing it. You could have a secondary sheet that lists the place it was purchased and the cost, although I would put a note that costs do go up and in the event of damage, they will be charged the current replacement cost.

I do like the idea of a sheet you can share with where you purchased things. I think it's just ridiculous though that a school can have the SAME item sitting in storage 364 days a year not being used and the different groups expect each other to buy their own stuff. SO wasteful and really has sort of a "mine mine mine" feel to it.

princess_and_the_pea
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Posted: 1/29/2013 9:49:13 PM
I'm not really understanding. If they Re your personal items, then of course, decline requests to borrow them. Your things, your choice. However, if they belong to the school or group or whatever, I think you are being unreasonable.

Donna in GA
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Posted: 1/30/2013 5:35:13 AM
Thanks for giving me some things to think about.

The items are paid for with funds for the prom. These funds come from the price of the tickets. In years past, the prom was held off site and the coordinator did not have a way to transport and store the decorations at the end of the evening, so she gave them all away to the faculty members that were part of the cleanup crew. (They cleaned up in more ways than one!) When I took over last year I started at ground zero because there was basically nothing set aside from years past. I purchased items last year that would be versatile so that they could be used with multiple themes. I am just concerned about items being damaged or disappearing. Disappearing items are a huge problem in a large school.

I will let the ROTC group use the fabric with the understanding that if it is damaged it will have to be replaced. I may need it for the prom just a month later.

The other people wanting to borrow items are wanting them for local church functions or even functions at other schools. I will decline those since these are items purchased to be used at our school. Everybody always makes the comment about how responsible they are, but you all know how that can turn out.

Thank you once again. The Peas are a great source for thought out opinions.

jennifw
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:23:33 AM
I support you saying "I am sorry those items are not available to loan out" Too many times, things never come back or are ruined. If you do loan at all, it should only be for school events, not church events, etc.

I do like the suggestion of typing up a list of vendors that you used last year. You can keep it generic, but gives others a place to start and may keep the questions down.

Good luck!

Gsquaredmom

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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:35:36 AM
Given the additional information, I agree with your course of action. The items should be for in-school groups only, and having a checkout/responsible person agreement makes sense. I also think a list of vendors for others will make your life easier.

BTW, thank you for sponsoring prom. It's a headache.



Oliquig
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:42:37 AM
I totally understand your feeling. I am active in a local community theater and regularly get requests to borrow large props that are needed for certain plays. We have been burned in the past over bad treatment of the items.

Perhaps you could write up a document that the ROTC person signs stating that if damaged they need to pay $xxx by a certain date. I would make sure they know the price, so they don't try to fob you off with a lower price or a cheaper replacement fabric. I would also put in there that they are responsible for any cleaning costs and take pictures of the items before you lend them out.


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Pridemom
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:43:57 AM
I think your update is a good one. Our JROTC puts on a very nice Ball and we have community business sponsors. We are able to have some nice things for our kids that the Prom committee would be interested in borrowing. It would be a win-win with the agreement that anything damaged be replaced.




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KittenOnTheKeys
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Posted: 1/30/2013 6:45:44 AM
You could do it like a costume check out.

Have a contract/check out sheet with the item listed, condition of the item upon loan out, condition you expect it returned in (dry clean at X cleaners for ex.), date you want it returned by, and what you will expect if item is not returned/not cleaned/damaged.

I understand you not wanting to loan items out. People just don't take care of other's items as they should.



Shih Tzu Mommy
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:29:13 AM
If Prom funds were used to pay for the items, they belong to the Prom, end of story. I would tell them they are not yours to loan, but belong to the Prom.

If general funds were used, then you might not have a choice.



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Annabella
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Posted: 1/30/2013 8:39:36 AM
I understand not wanting to be bothered to keep track or hassled to get things back. Seriously everything they need is available at party city. Not sure how you politely tell them no though.




nlwilkins
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Posted: 1/30/2013 9:09:00 AM
To me if would not be just about the potential of the items being damages or lost but also about how they become viewed by the students attending the functions. It would be, "Oh there are the tablecloths we used for prom last year and there are the parts of the centerpieces we used last month in the FHA banquet," and so on.

Items can become ho-hum and lose their freshness in the eyes of the students if they are trotted out for every banquet, party or meeting. You want to generate excitement and fun with your Proms and bring them down to the level of everyday party and banquets. After all proms are really a very special event.

Plus there is just so many times an item can be used before it is not usable anymore. They will last longer for proms if only used for proms.


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ScrappinMyLife
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:25:46 PM
If the items were purchased with school funds, then everyone/every department/every group, should be able to use them.
If the Prom committee made the purchase, using school based funds, that doesn't give the Prom committee exclusive ownership rights, because technically either the ticket purchasers or tax paying citizens are the owner of the said items.

If the items were purchased, with your own(or another Parents) personal funds, then loaning out the items would be at your discretion.

If the items are school property, then it would be wise to inventory and catalog the items, and have the individual(Teacher/Administrator) who would is borrowing/using the item, sign off/check them out, be held responsible for the items return or replacement if the item goes missing.

alisatj
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:27:42 PM
Would it be possible to ask the other groups to put down a $ deposit that would be given back to them when the items are returned in good condition?

Don't know if that's ethical/legal/possible since they're school property though...


mdoc
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:48:25 PM
If someone was offering to trade items (black tablescloths for white fabric), I'd be inclined to do it. And I would certainly expect a faculty member colleague to let me know where an item I wanted to use came from, even if they weren't willign to share. But frankly, I'd just share the items and let the other faculty member know that if it didn't come back in good condition you'd want it replaced.

wannaplay
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:18:58 PM
I get it. Our cheerleaders do homecoming. THEY raise the funds through dance ticket sales the year before and fund raisers and parent/cheerleader costs. Not one penny of school money is spent on the decorations. It all comes from the cheer funds - and cheerleaders receive no funding from the school at all. The dance IS their support. So. That being said, our director is VERY RELUCTANT to let things go out on loan. She will provide her catalogs and let you know where you can get something, but you're gonna play hell getting it out of her hands...especially for something that happens BEFORE the big game and/or dance. Because the school, and the other activities/clubs in the school, are not so good at replacing things when they need replacing them.

Donna in GA
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Posted: 1/30/2013 4:42:01 PM
nlwilkins really got some of the other things I have been feeling with the following statement:


To me if would not be just about the potential of the items being damages or lost but also about how they become viewed by the students attending the functions. It would be, "Oh there are the tablecloths we used for prom last year and there are the parts of the centerpieces we used last month in the FHA banquet," and so on.

Items can become ho-hum and lose their freshness in the eyes of the students if they are trotted out for every banquet, party or meeting. You want to generate excitement and fun with your Proms and bring them down to the level of everyday party and banquets. After all proms are really a very special event.

Plus there is just so many times an item can be used before it is not usable anymore. They will last longer for proms if only used for proms.

The students are still upset that we have been forced to move the prom on campus to a cafeteria. I want to be able to put together something special year after year. The other people helping me and I have discussed rotating some of the reusable items on a 4-5 year basis so they won't get boring.

I knew organizing the prom was a big job, but last year I saw firsthand just how big it is. I spent probably 10 times more time on this prom than I did my own wedding. It turned out great, but it was exhausting. All of this time is on top of doing my normal job as a Chemistry teacher. Labs still had to be set up the weeks leading up to the prom. I have no interest in being a check out service for supplies on top of everything else. These items are not purchased with general school funds, only prom funds.

Thank you so much for your feedback. Peas do give great advice!

_Vanessa_
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Posted: 1/30/2013 7:44:52 PM
I'll make you a deal. If you can find the ten guitars and twenty keyboards that were 'borrowed' from my after school program last year and are now, apparently, lost in the ephemera, you can loan out the stuff for these other purposes. I seriously am missing all of these musical instruments and none of the teachers who checked them out will claim responsibility for them. I feel ya.
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