Question: Breaking a tie on spending decisions?

Our board consists of four people, and we constantly battle over money and how to spend it. We need a fifth person to decide things; it’s always two against two. I don’t think we should be hanging on to all of our money, but our current president wants to spend it on, in my opinion, meaningless things that won’t really benefit the kids.

Asked by



Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Well, Elly does think you’d have better odds of not being at odds if you had an odd number of voting members! In other words, it’s a good idea for your bylaws to include a provision for an odd number of board members so you’ll be able to reach a decision on voting matters. Consider adding a new position such as member at large. Until you add that into your bylaws, though, you may want to bring contentious issues or disputes to the other members of your group for a vote.

Sound budgeting practices can also minimize a lot of the infighting and help you reach consensus even before you vote on any matters. The great thing about formulating a budget is that you and your board’s officers are not burdened with the personal responsibility of deciding how to spend every penny of the PTO’s funds—your members as a whole have a chance to weigh in on the spending priorities for the group. Plus, there are more opportunities for compromise when you consider issues together rather than one at a time. For help with the budgeting process, check out the article “Budget Basics for PTOs”.

Answer this question: