As a PTO in a public school, we are an independent 501(c)(3) organization completely separate from the school, with our own treasury, bank account and full bylaws. This year we came in as a brand new PTO board with a new principal. As such the year, while successful, was slightly rocky. Planning was rough, and I know she felt that we were a bit rushed. However, we were able to triple the size of our PTO (in the past average attendance at meetings was 20 - including teachers, this year it has been 60 with NO teachers), we more than doubled the volunteer hours spent in the school through our efforts (letters, phone tree and other methods of reaching out to parents/guardians) built a new fully organic learning garden, with vegetables the children will be able to harvest in the fall and spring for use in the cafeteria. We supported teachers, classrooms, purchased supplies for the school, paid for outdoor school etc all this through donations and fundraisers, fully supported (unanimously supported I should add) by our PTO members.
Our board meets tomorrow to set up next years calendar and get end of the year business done. We do not want a "frazzled" year again. We have learned a lot and are excited to get going.
However, we were informed this evening that the principal and the site council ( The site council is made up of the principal, the teachers and TWO parents) met and have decided not only what events we will and will not hold next year (against the PTO member vote) they also decided how the PTO will spend it's funds (also against the vote of the members)
Now, I understand that as a 501c3 the principal has no access to the funds and no authority to tell the board how to spend the money, she receives 1 vote as do all other members. She is the only staff member of the site council who is also a PTO member, therefore none of the other staff members have a vote on PTO matters - they can, but they have made the choice, so far, to not join the PTO. Our two parents in attendance felt they had no say in the matter at all, they were not asked they were told.
I also know that it is in our best interest to work in cooperation with the principal for the benefit of our students, however, the principal and site council are NOT the PTO and we feel they are overstepping at this point, to the detriment of the students. (The principal wants us to hire a dance instructor for an after school program which benefits 20 students, instead of using the funds to fix up the school - graffiti removal, resurface the playground, provide field trips etc - as we had planned)
Is there ANY information or insight you can send my way before we meet with her on Monday? I appreciate any help you can provide.