Question: Financial Questions.

I'm in PA and our PTO gives very limited treasurer's reports. Someone filed a right to know and she has not received an answer to her questions. The PTO execs. do not feel as though they need to give her the answers and the treasurer said "it's all in the reports". The reports give monies spent/earned in groups. Like office supplies or field trips. My feeling is that they should have explanations on the report for every dollar spent and what it was on, not just groups. I know PTOs aren't covered under the sunshine law, but should they be giving us more detailed reports and if we ask about their grouped items, should they be telling us?

Asked by melonienhunter



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
On the one hand, I believe PTO finances should be as transparent as possible. Conducting your financial business in the open creates trust among parents who are supporting your fundraisers, and it helps fight the claim that "a few officers" are running the PTO as a clique and without regard to what parents want. Having open finances is an element of telling people "here's what we're doing and why." It can only help. On the other hand, I don't agree with making the treasurer report on every single expenditure at each general meeting. It's extra work for a position where there's already plenty to do, most attendees are likely to find the report boring, and it has the potential to derail the meeting with pointless discussion about whether you could have gotten paper plates for 20 cents cheaper across town. When the treasurer's report is read at a meeting, you are within your rights to ask for more detail on a category that concerns you. And personally, I don't see a problem with giving an occasional (written) report to a member as concerned as you are. I'd then hope that member would use the information constructively. The thing I'd be afraid of is nitpicking. I think officers usually are trying to do their best, and nitpicking simply makes life more difficult for them, and that makes the idea of serving as an officer less appealing to everyone.

Community Advice

hkillam writes:
I would agree with the previous post. As a treasurer I report at meetings any changes that have occured in a line item and give a brief explanation. I don't want to take up the whole meeting with "we spent x amount of dollars on hot dogs, x amount on buns etc. for the sock hop yada yada yada..." However, if anyone wants to know specifics I think that you have to make it available.

Community Advice

melonienhunter writes:
Thank you for your replies. I am currently nominated for the treasurer position. Our current treasurer did not give up the information but when taken to district administration, the information was told to be released, atleast to the one filing the right to know. The info we ask for is always given very reluctantly, which is upsetting because we all support the fundraisers and supposed to be able to trust our pto's funds are being used wisely.

Community Advice

jeciwall28 writes:
I am our school's PTO Treasurer and we have an open checkbook policy. The reason for this is a lack of paper trail and accountability the past few years. I basically had to start from scratch this year. At our meetings, I have a written report and give my oral report. My written report is very detailed, down to every check that has been written and cleared (kind of like a bank statement) but my oral report is only the majors like Income earned, Balance of account and upcoming expenses. I make enough copies for every table to look at and I am open to anyone who asks questions. I feel that withholding information looks suspicious even if it is not. Trust is one of the biggest factors in being a PTO board member. You will always be questioned on things that you do, so prepare for that. Good luck.

Community Advice

cyrisez writes:
My group has issues with this as well, as an officer I can tell you that being as open with ALL finances when requested will foster trust; But at the meetings you really want to keep it brief. Perhaps you could suggest those who wish for more detailed info speak with the Treasurer privately after the meeting.

Answer this question: