Let's Help 1432 (school took $, threw team off campus, won't give back tools)

<edit>Such is the joy of working on topics in breaking news, the thread “Dealing with Disappointments”](http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=982363&postcount=94) holds an interesting other side to the coin. Make your best judgements, I am leaving all this information here, and updating it as rapidly as I hear anything.


Alright. I understand that there’s already a thread discussing the problem and many expressions of sympathy, but I’m interested in starting a quick thread where we can talk about what can concretely be done right now to help this team compete this year. I want to keep this thread short, about fixing stuff, and mostly for logistics coordination among people who are fixing stuff. Here’s what we can do.

  1. Email the Principal/School Administration

Let’s keep it classy guys, no name calling, just expressing our concern, etc. Here’s a sample letter to get you started.


I saw this article http://www.thebeenews.com/news/story.php?story_id=129022143848652900

I was extremely sorry to hear that team 1432 no longer has space to work in, access to their tools, or access to the money they raised. As an alum of this program from another school, I can not tell you how important this program is to students all around the world in keeping them engaged in school, in helping them get into and pay for college, and in helping them find happy careers. I really hope you reconsider and permit this wonderful self-sustaining institution to be a resource to your students. I have no doubt they’ll bring your school much to be proud of in the coming years.


Now for the addresses:
Franklin High School Principal: Shay James sjames@pps.k12.or.us
Franklin High School Vice-Principal: Lavert Robertson lrobert1@pps.k12.or.us
Franklin High School Vice-Principal: Ivonne Guerra iguerra@pps.k12.or.us
The district school board: schoolboard@pps.k12.or.us
District Board Representitive for Region 3: Bobbie Regan

  1. Gain them additional press

Looks like they were already on the front page of reddit and fark, as well as Grant Imahara and Adam Savage’s twitters


  1. Help them regain 501c3 status

I spoke to the team this morning, they need their 501c3 status reinstated to be eligible for grants. Is there a local 4H club, scouting group, etc they can partner with to regain this status?

  1. Help them get supplies and tools to replace the ones lost

Spoke to the mentor this morning. She’s putting together a list, which will be available on their website shortly at http://team1432.org/

  1. Help them secure funding to pay for competitions

There is a PayPal button at the top of the team’s website http://team1432.org It is verified to be linked to the team’s new bank account, and not the one that goes into the school.

Mentor said she might drop by here later, but it looks like it has been a pretty busy day for her all and all. Valid contact info for the team is info@team1432.org

Alright guys, let’s go make some grandmas proud!


Its always wonderful to see the FIRST community step up to help another team in trouble. I will see if my grandparents would be interested in donating some money to them instead of getting me a Christmas present this year, because I would much rather a team be able to participate than me get another present I could live without. Once you figure out where the money gets out, please tell us *


As brought up in the threads that Katy linked to, hold off an emails until we receive more information. Uninformed emails will make 1432’s “argument” less credible. Andrew Schreibler had some very valid points to make:

[quote=“Andrew Schreiber,post:94,topic:97722”]
Warning, this is not going to be a popular opinion.

Which is sad. The school is following its written policy and catching flak for it. The school says they can’t be a club without a staff member being involved. They have also decided to provide an alternative to it in the form of this MESA program.

The policy in question is:

Matthews referred to Portland Public Schools Administrative Directive “4.40.050-AD, Student Clubs”, that defines school clubs as “… recognized student groups or organizations that may be curricular or non-curricular.” Matthews then quoted from Section I, Subpart 5, “Supervision of student clubs” which states: “… All clubs with the exception of religious, political, and sports clubs must have a staff supervisor.”

They do not classify FRC teams as a sports club which is their choice and the team cannot be a club at the school. As for the equipment and the money, is it school equipment? Was the money donated to the school?

Yes, this is a bad situation but frankly the school is completely within its rights here.

Want a TLDR? The team didn’t follow the rules, rules they’ve known about since at least September, and were shut down. When they didn’t like that they went to the press hoping to force the school into bending the rules.[/quote]

I’m a big fan of assisting teams in ways they feel best and wish to proceed.

I’m not a fan of ‘fixing’ another team’s problem.

There is a difference.


Update: talked with the mentor again. The PayPal button is verified to go into the team’s new bank account. If you want to get in touch with the team yourself the email info@team1432.org is valid.

Something very similar happened to our team 6 years ago. It was a trying time for all of us. The kids and parents begged us to keep the team going. It was tough going at 1st but we kept going. We do have some limited contact with the school now, like allowing the kids out of school for the competitions.

The school kept everything including tools I purchased with my own money. They basically told me possession is 9 tenths of the law. I tried arguing with them but finally decided it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I later had teachers calling me telling me they threw EVERYTHING in the garbage. I really wanted to become a dumpster diver that day!

We have been lucky and have found new sponsors. Great ones!! We are just 1 of a handful of teams not associated with a school. We are asked all the time if we would go back. I absolutely would refuse. Yes some things would be easier but in the long run for us being able to do thing on our terms is much easier. We are also able to have kids from other schools who don’t have teams along with home school kids. I wish you luck!

There is already a discussion on reddit.com about this, and people are wanting to know how to help. FWIW, I commented on one poster’s suggestion to contact the school, to recommend that people hold off on massive quantities of emails to the school until further notice.

There is a huge unharvested force out there [geeks on the internet who love high-school engineers] and it would be great if there were some way to organize/co-ordinate with them. CD mentors/anyone with more than my typical teenage experience~ do you have any input on how this could happen?

This really boils my blood. Back in high school, my team was nearly disbanded many times by a petty and shortsighted administration. I gave what I can spare, and just wrote to the district based on the information from this story.

I can honestly say that we have been blessed by our schools support, but to hear a story like this is heartbreaking.

If there is anything we can do, please say so. I will keep updated on this thread and I will let the rest of my team know about this.

Being a veteran team with plenty of resources and many years of experience, it is the next generation of these teams that need our help the most.

Good luck with everything, and PM me if you need anything.


Ditto. It’s been a long time since I last logged into chief delphi (though I do still read from time to time), but this calls for action.

Something they may want to consider is if the monies were donated to the team were from cooperate sponsors, those sponsors could ask or even threaten to sue for the monies back. The money was donated for the team to use not the football, music or whatever they are going to use it for. The school can’t use that money legally if it was sent for something in particular. Those sponsors expected something back for their money…a robot.

Just isn’t right. That’s all I want to add on. I will be getting some fund together to help out.

Never one to be short of opinions, I’d like to share one now.

FRC teams face daunting tasks each year - be they rookies, young veterans, or old war horses. The daunting tasks are not just about building the robot and not just about competing in an awesome event. The daunting tasks have to do with sustainability and setting short term and long term goals to help insure a safety net for sustaining a team and keeping it stable - allowing it to compete at its best level and ability. Without stability, the team can suffer and so can its competitive edge.

Teams must each look at the health of their team, realistically assessing and reassessing its strengths and weaknesses. Much of that has to do with the people involved in running the team. Take time to develop your program so that you have people to fall back on and to step in when it is time to turn over the reins. Take time to do what it takes to develop a booster club or a parent association that will work hard in areas of fundraising, organization, and stability. Take time to really think about forming/obtaining a 501©3 status and understanding that process and what it will take. Take time to figure out who the robots/tools/team materials belong to. Make sure that it is understood. If they belong to the school/school district - then deal with it, knowing that up front. If there are shades of gray, explore the shades of gray as best you can so that informed decisions can be made as the team continues to grow and develop or - when there is a serious downturn in budgets and/or space.

Sustainability and stability in FRC teams is the key to FRC’s future.

If people are posting and making complaints about how their team is short on funds or that its existence is threatened or has been in the past - take a look at how that has happened and what the safeguards are that the team put in place or could have put in place to prevent or lessen the threat. If the team has done everything it possibly could towards creating a strong, stable, sustainable base then - it has leverage that can be very powerful. If it does nothing to help itself achieve its goals and strengthen those goals with each passing year - the leverage is weakened.

Just some food for thought.

Just a quick note to let every one know that the S.E. Portland Rotary has stepped up and volunteered to be our 501-C-3 this year while we write our own 501 and get it processed. Our grants are now secured. Many thanks to all for your tireless support and help during these very trying times. Watch the website for further information. There is to be a follow up story in the next Bee. We’ll post it when they make it digital.

never give up …never surrender!

This seems like a good solution. The Baltimore Area Alliance FRC teams (10 teams) use a small private foundation to receive donations. The private foundation charges a small administrative fee, but allows the group to receive donations from corporations and private individuals who want to donate to a group of teams (rather than just one), for donations from the state, and for employee matching, such as through Verizon. The BAA also has a business checking account.

The relationship has been ongoing for 5 years and started because the “ask” to a group of potential FIRST champions was for the use of a 501©3, not a donation.

You should try to make this a permanent deal. We’ve been operating under the Atascadero Education Foundation for years now, it’s great having that status!

I think they are trying to get that permanent status by establishing their own 501.

Another option is for the team to become a 4-H club. I am just starting to discover the beauty of the combination of FRC and 4-H.