Baltimore County Schools Ban PTA Craft Fairs

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County’s Parent Teacher Association makes thousands of dollars sponsoring craft fairs at schools, but Suzanne Collins reports parents are upset about a new rule barring that activity.

At Ridgely Middle, the PTA raised $13,000 in November. They held craft fairs, selling handmade items. The new rules ban Baltimore County School craft fairs.

“I’m very disappointed and you just have to ask why? I don’t understand why. I don’t feel we’ve been given a good explanation of why,” said PTA president Kay Hardisky.

“What this is aimed at doing is ensuring we’re taking into account public safety and health. And that we’re making good stewardship for the uses of our facilities here at Baltimore County Schools,” said Charles Herndon, Baltimore County Schools.

Kathy Lally is an artisan, who sells her crafts at Ridgely Middle and a number of other county school craft fairs. She says people come back year after year and she loves seeing the school children who volunteer.

“I would just like the school board to reconsider, and I’m sure most of us do feel the same way. We look forward to the camaraderie, like I said, the kids,” said Lally.

Ridgely has held a craft fair for more than 30 years. Even students make crafts, and participate selling them. It has taught them a lot about being an entrepreneur in the real business world.

Other students get service hour credit helping out. All PTA profits are used to help improve the curriculum.

County schools say it must make sure events at schools serve an educational purpose, and there’s concern that profit-making ventures don’t fit that mold. There could also be liability.

It’s depressing to those who love the school craft fairs.

“It’s our social time, it’s friends, it’s creativeness, it’s meeting a lot of nice people, getting the kids involved and community involved,” said Lally.

The Ridgely PTA says besides the craft fair, its only other source of revenue is donations from parents.

  • j

    I could understand not having bake sales .. could cause food poisoning .. but crafts seem like a safe way to earn money .. what’s the problem?

    • elaine

      crafts are art. “educational”. teaches children and adults to use their imagination to create “art” which will be viewed and appreciated in other peoples homes. crafty fairs are educational and profittable.. so balti co, why are they banned?
      pta’s do wonderful jobs raising money for extras for students, teachers ant the school. so balti. countty why don’t you step in and pay for all the extras the pta’s supply without raising taxes oe imposinf new feea.

    • Yvonne Carnes Carter

      A craft fair – buying parts/pieces, assembling them, and selling the finished product for a profit sounds like basic business to me! The whiole point of a business is to be a profit making venture – whether we grow up to work at someone else’s business or have our own business we all end up working. So isn’t this what i’t’s all about – learning to work to earn money – there is a HUGE lesson to be taught here… Not to mention the community involvement!

    • Susan D

      Worst thing I have EVER heard of, truly unfair!!

    • Linda

      Home school the kids!!! This can be done even if the parents work full-time!!! Don’t sending children to government schools, where they are being brainwashed into living socialistic lives.

      • Kate

        Really? Brainwashed? I could see not sending your child to public schools because class size is too big, teachers are locked into a curriculum, etc. I guess you could just as easily brainwash your kids to your narrow ways of thinking by keeping them home.

    • Justin F

      “County schools say there’s concern that profit-making” “…schools…” “don’t fit that mold.”


  • Greg

    simple solution, pull your kids from the public school system
    that will get their attention, just like the clowns in d.c. they think they run things, time to let them know, we the people run things, it’s our dime

    • Kathy Lally

      Correct, this is a positive thing in the lives of the Middle School and High School students. They learn a lot from this, work ethic, volunteering, working for themselves!!!

      • Marge

        Just move it off their campus and change the venue, ask someone if you can use their parking lot

    • Dwayne

      Your plan would work great for the parents who can afford to send their kids elsewhere or educate them at home which isn’t many and why there are public schools. Also read the article again has nothing to do with clowns in DC it was the local Baltimore County school board, they are located in Baltimore County not DC. It is a sad truth in society they have to deal with, one person gets injured at one of these events or later on from a craft, the school system is held legally liable. Things that are good once more get ruined my our lawsuit happy society and that is what this rule is about.

      • Linda Moberg

        I went back and checked and the Craft Fair at Ridgley has been running for 30 yrs withoug incident. I don’t see it causing one now.

      • Linda Moberg

        THe person you are replying to was using DC as an example. They were not saying this was happening in DC. This Craft Fair has been running for many years. Not just for 4 or 5 years and without any sort of incident. I don’t see why a craft fair would cause a mojor law suit to happen either.

    • David A. Robier

      The voters in this state have repeatedly returned our “clowns” to office. We will never run things until that practice has stopped. A favorite quote of mine is this one I heard from Ron Smith… “If our vote really mattered… They wouldn’t let us have it.”

  • escaspades

    Sounds more political to me, like they dont want one school’s PTA to have more funds than another school.

    • Kathy Lally

      You are correct! Even Steven.. Everyone have a craft fair!!!!

      • FunnyTruth

        Those who can…Succeed.

        Those who can not…Teach.

        Those who don’t know their rear-end from a hole in the ground… Run for School Board.

  • Laura

    so how do they raise money? begging on the street corners?
    It’s absurd to take away craft fairs. It was stupid to take away bake sales too. people have just gotten too paranoid and whinny about everything.

    • Kathy Lally

      That is true!!! A wholesome function of years gone by should be continued!!!

  • Ann

    This is wrong. The PTA puts so much time into a event that does nothing but benefit the school. They are saying these events must be “educational” and profit making venues don’t fit that mold. What? The students are involved with this event and what a better way to show children that being involved in your community is a GREAT thing. So what if the PTA makes money, ALL funds go into the school to help make up for what the School Board hasn’t supplied to the teachers.

    • Kathy Lally

      Absolutely, these are NICE ways to raise funds. See how many Parent Donations you receive and then compare!!!!

  • toe

    great idea. tell everyone your school made $13,000 with a craft fair. and we wonder why the budget is being cut. know what i’m saying?

  • Toby

    This is one of the assinine ideas I have ever heard. School Board does not come up with the funds that the schools need for extras. That is what the PTA does it raises money for the schools, it also keeps parents engaged with their childrens school. It goes on for 30 years and now it is an issue. Sorry, this does not cut it. My kids are grown and out of school but I am thankful for all the extras the PTA did for them.

    • Kathy Lally

      Thank you for your response!!!! You still care and see the necessity of the PTA to raise money!!!

  • mike

    So set up your PTA craft show at a local church. This is what happens when lawmakers and politicians have idle time on there hands they make laws like this to justify there jobs. Find out who came up with this law and vote them out next time around.

    • Kathy Lally

      Okay, Let us get the fund raising going for the church instead and we will move on to that territory. So Public School System…we will have to move on. Okay, you want to reconsider!!!!Thanks

  • Denise

    I can’t believe this. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Guess the schools can no longer sell wrapping paper and candy, humm?

    • Kathy Lally

      Correct, I myself have purchased every year from two or three schools for 26 years,,,,,Oh My, it is time to Stop? Please reconsider

    • Danielle Kovach Douglass

      I know right! How ridiculous is this…

  • f em all

    Welcome to the nanny state. Enjoy your stay, or else.

  • Danny Kutrick

    SO they can push the BS sales of garbage from the wrapping paper and pizza sales . I dont see where church has an educational purpose but hell they allow services in public schools on Sunday . If the crafts need to stop so do the Churchies

    • Mad Momma


  • Mad Momma

    I can not believe this!! Holding a craft fair is certainly a better way to raise money for our children than trying to have them pawn over-priced pizzas and other useless junk. And these days, that responsibility falls solely on the parent, not the child. As an artisan myself, I wish my daughter’s school had a craft fair! I would gladly make jewelry and other crafts to fund the school and keep more programs available for the students instead of cutting them because they “don’t have the money.” I am appalled by the lack of thought that goes in to these decisions. At this point, I’m not sure if our school board members and law makers ever went to school!

    • Yvonne Carnes Carter

      At a creaft fair the entire rental fee for the booth goes to the PTA – not the pittance that they get for wrapping paper sales…

  • Joe Krick

    This is a Shame that this has happened. I hope the school board will reconsider there decision. I’m a crafter and this show was suggested to me as one of the best fundraisers for schools. If it helps Why not these schools need fundraisers like this.

  • June Piper-Brandon

    So the school engenders family involvement and parental support and that’s a bad thing. The school is being punished for holding successful events. The funds raised at the craft fairs are used to support after school clubs like Spanish Club, French Club, Organization Club, Robotics Club and other education programs. Without these funds parents will need to come out of pocket or the programs will be cancelled therefore impacting the quality of our children’s education. My son is in 7th grade at Ridgely MS and participates in some of these programs and they augment and improve the education that he receives in the traditional classroom. To lose these would be an extreme loss not only to him but to other children too. The esteemed member of the school board who thinks that the profits don’t benefit the education is sorely mistaken.

    • Kathy Lally

      Absolutely!, Hope Baltimore County Board Reads this one!!

      • Carol Heinlein

        I was under the impression that there is a ” joint use agreement ” between the Board of Ed and Recreation and Parks Dept. The latter is responsible for the facilities outside of school hours and on weekends. If that is so, why does the Board of Ed have any say at all ? Shouldn’t Rec and Parks be the ones giving permission?

  • Yvonne Carnes Carter

    Has the school board come up with an alternative means of funding this 13,000.00 to benefit the schol and the students!

  • Heather Smith

    I’m just wondering if the daisies brownies and girl scout troops that meet in the public schools are allowed to carry on their cookie sales? I grew up in Baltimore but don’t live there any more so I don’t know all the details of the boards rulings. But doing away with a craft fair is absurd!

  • Kim Jones

    OMG, this is one of the more outlandish things I have ever heard of!!! I would love to know who said what to whom to even make this topic come up as an issue of contention. My children are in private school, so I am thankful that I won’t have to deal with this ludicrousness, but empathize with the parents that will hopefully band together to see such a decision overturned, reversed or whatever needs to happen to get rid of the mandate. The education involved in putting these types of events together is mind boggling, if anyone had thought enough to ask and is the stuff from which future entreprenreurs are made. Junior Achievenment is a wonderful organization that teaches young people these principles, but being an extra curricular type activity at a location not necessarily convenient to all may detract from some being able to participate, but Heaven forbid a child receive this type of practical education right in their own school.

  • Mike Carnahan

    I think it’s time to replace the school board. Their always so busy saving us from ourselves. And it only took them 30 years to realize that this event was BAD…

    • Mike Carnahan

      Oops. I meant to say “They’re” instead of “Their”. I hope the school board doesn’t catch that. They might ban commenting on news stories about them.

  • djc

    What kinda kickbacks are the board getting from the fundraising junk companies??

  • Russ

    They will not allow craft sales yet it is okay to beg for money at intersections-there is not day that goes by in the spring you do not and parents asking for donations at intersections through out the county..

    • Towson

      I agree. I was approached by a young man at Denny’s who wanted to sell me something, He was trying to raise money for his High School wrestling team.

  • Chris Miller

    This is crazy! What other things can they take away – Almost as if they want to do away with the PTA’s. that is probably what is next on the agenda. Please reconsider this stupid rule.

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  • Towson

    Bcps also recently decided that the polar bear plunge was to high risk. The teachers that have been organizing groups to do this now need to scramble because they can’t participate in the event as a cool school. So I guess you can’t raise money for your school or any other good causes, I’m waiting for them to ban my daughters elementary school fundraiser next.

  • A. Landers

    All of your locals need to meet to come up with a plan. As unfortunate as this is, I’m not surprised. It has happened in other counties. Someone already said it; the issue is equity and one school making more money than another. It’s a given some PTA’s may have stronger parent support than others.

    When some schools are able to have more after school programs, activities, purchase certain items and others can not, this is where the problems can arise. In today’s economy, PTA’s being able to fundraise is very important.

    If you can’t get the school system to compromise, then you need to come up with another plan. Developing partnerships with other agencies that can provide facilities such as Parks & Recs, YMCA’s, senior centers, etc.

    This is the time to get parents, students, and the community involved by preparing testimonies to present at a board meeting. The message should be geared towards how the loss of revenue will affect programs for students/families. This means no schools will be able to fund any programs.

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