Gift Card Guidelines
Texas Education Agency's Federal Cost Principles - Side By Side (PDF) addresses allowable and unallowable expenditures for federal funds. Please read the sections on Awards for Recognition/Incentives for Participation (pg 3) and Gifts/Items that appear to Be Gifts (pg 11).
1. Awards for Recognition/Incentives for Paticipation should be limited to the following:
Certificates, plaques, ribbons and small trophies of nominal cost or
Inexpensive instructionally related items such as pens/pencils to be used in the classroom
2. Gifts or Items That Appear to Be Gifts:
Unallowable - Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars A-87, A-122 and A-21 state that it is unallowable to make donations (gifts) of federal monies regardless of recipient.
The Texas Education Agency's Division of Financial Audits recommends that gift cards not be purchased regardless of funding source. When using public funds, it is necessary to have an audit trail which helps ensure that funds are not used for inappropriate items (i.e. alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, etc.).
Gift cards do not provide an audit trail, accordingly, they are unallowable.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Administrator of Finance for further clarification on this topic. Mary Garza - Administrator - 554-2882 - firstname.lastname@example.org