Question: Does the PTO need to keep their funds/money separate from the School?

I am a member of an elementary school PTO. My concern is that we don't have a treasurer as part of our board. The reason given is b/c we don't keep track of our own money. I was told that all PTO money was put in the general fund account of the school. Is this okay? I have been told that the money belongs to the PTO, not the school, and should therefore be kept in a PTO account, not a school account. Will you please advise what is the PROPER way to handle PTO money?

Asked by Judge



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Parent groups typically operate in one of two ways. One way is as an organization independent of the school. These groups have their own Employer Identification Number (EIN - a kind of social security number for businesses) from the IRS. Some are incorporated. Some are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt charities under section 501c3 of the federal tax code. Each of these steps solidifies your independent status. The other type of group is essentially a committee of the school. It's not organized as a separate organization. If it has a bank account, the account was opened with the school's EIN. So the short answer to your question is it depends on how you're organized and how you want to operate. The article Whose Rules, School or PTO? gives some good perspective on this topic.

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