Arlington County Sets $100 Cap on Gifts to Teachers

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The holidays are known as the season of giving, but schools in Arlington County are cracking down on the gift giving to teachers.

The Arlington County School Board voted Thursday to set a $100 cap on how much a family can spend each year on gifts to any school employee.

The policy, which goes into effect in July, seeks to curb the potential for favoritism and detract from “actual or perceived conflict of interest.”

Officials say the new rule is not intended to prohibit gift giving among school staff members, but gifts from subordinate employees to supervisors are subject to the $100 cap.

The policy defines gifts as an event, activity or item given to any school employee for “personal use or benefit.” However, gifts do not include homemade items like baked goods; funds given to teachers to buy classroom supplies; expenses related to promoting professional development; and awards from organizations not affiliated with the school system.

Parents will however be able to pool money together to give teachers larger gifts, according to The Washington Post.

Some teachers told the Post that the policy would put them in a situation where they would have to keep track of the gifts they’ve receive throughout the year.

Other school districts in the D.C. area have already put caps on gifts to school employees, the Post reports.

Montgomery County set a $100 cap per family per calendar year, but limits individual gifts to $20 or less. While Fairfax County discourages gift giving and suggests that students instead write letters to their teachers expressing gratitude or appreciation.

Arlington County ranked among the wealthiest counties in the nation in 2012, with a median household income of more than $99,000.

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(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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