Arlington school board may limit spending on teacher gifts

(WJLA) - With the holidays in full swing, gift giving seems to be on everyone’s mind. But there is one unforeseen challenge for parents: What’s an appropriate gift for the teacher?

“I’ll occasionally talk to my friends to figure out what they’re gonna do,” says Susan Snare, a parent of a Thomas Jefferson Middle School student.

Snare says she supports a proposal that would put a cap on parents’ spending on presents.

Since the fall, the Arlington school board has been working to make a vague gift-giving policy more concrete. In early October, the school board considered capping fits for teachers at $50 dollars. But, after meeting with community groups, school officials decided that number was too low. Now, they school board is grappling with a proposal to limit spending to $100 dollars.

“I think that number is fine,” Snare says. “I don't think you want to have any more than that.”

“These teachers give so much to our kids and I think every family expresses that in a different way,” says Mary Smaragdis, also a parent at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. “Some people bake. Some people buy them gift cards, and so on.”

Smaragdis says while she appreciates teachers, she admits for some families, $100 may be a little high.

“I think $100 is a pretty hefty gift, but it wouldn’t bother me if someone thought they could give more and wanted to give more,” she says.

The board will vote on the proposal December 19th.