If approved, Dothan City Schools could soon be using an innovative online platform to process fees and donations.
LeanStream, a comprehensive crowdfunding and fees management resource for K-12 schools, would support visibility, control, accountability, and fund management with real-time monitoring capability.
Representatives gave a presentation to encourage the school board to consider licensing the product and to take part in its Wi-Fi hotspot program at the DCS work session on July 11.
“Every single thing that we have done together up to this point have been solutions that are focused on allowing you guys, your instructional leaders, to get back to teaching and teaching kids and teaching teachers how to teach kids,” Whit Colvin, product developer said to the board. “We’re asking principals… we ask them to do a lot. We want them to do a lot, but we know that really where the rubber meets the road is when principals can devote attention and time to supporting the magic that happens with teachers and students in the classroom. That’s what we’re here for.”
LeanStream provides multiple fundraising platforms for all operational levels -- school systems, foundations, individual schools, and individual teachers and faculty. Completely customizable the system can choose to advertise a “needs gallery,” which is a collective of initiatives submitted by administrators, individual schools, teachers, and clubs and organizations.
Fundraising needs will have to gain approval through the platform, which will allow administrators to protect the district from fraudulent, unaligned, or rogue funding initiatives promoted in the name of the district.
The tool will allow individuals to bypass transaction fees while collecting school fees, host online stores for spirit gear and parking passes, and keep an inventory of supplies. Districts can also post a “big featured need,” which will promote fundraising efforts to the most pressing school need.
Other school districts like Tuscaloosa and Madison City are already using the platform with success, according to Colvin.
The program does not assess a processing fee, but uses Paypal as a processor. The only associated fee to the system would be a one-time annual licensing fee of $10,350.
Colvin and Jacon Taylor, co-founder of LeanStream, also presented the “WiFi on the Go” program, powered by T-Mobile for Education.
Through the program, district employees, and parents or guardians of students can choose to pay a $50 monthly contribution in exchange for a WiFi hotspot. Schools will receive around $12 per line each month in supplemental revenue.
Based on average adoption rates, the net income benefit to a 9,300 student district could approximate $23,000 a year with a 1.59 percent adoption rate, according to data from LeanStream.
Donors can qualify $20 per month as a tax-deductible charitable donation.
“What we find is, and we don’t guarantee it … the hotspot program pays for the license fee anyway,” Colvin said. “In certain districts, the hotspot has paid for the program and then a whole lot more, which is what we really want it to do.”
The hotspot features unlimited, unthrottled wireless internet at T-Mobile’s 4G LTE speeds and does not require a term agreement or an initial payment for the device.
“We’ve had great luck in certain districts,” Colvin said. “A district your size, Cullman County board of education has about 350 hotspots out there, which is a real benefit to the school system.”
The program is turnkey, meaning the district would not have to expend any operational or financial cost if it chooses to adopt the program.