Question: Discretionary Account for School Principal

Our principal has asked for a "Discretionary Account" in the amount of $1500 for her spending needs for next year. Are there set regulations for such an account? How should she be accountable? What types of items can be purchased by this discretionary account? Any and all advice will be much appreciated!

Asked by jodosco



Community Advice

reginabeamon writes:
We have work with our principal. If she ask for anything we would either buy is for her or give her the money. When you have a principal that works with you,try to work with them. Then it is easy to work in the schools because are here for the children.

Community Advice

reginabeamon writes:
We have never give that mush of money . They have ask for a 100.00 dollars and thats all. I miss read the questions.

Community Advice

badpants writes:
Once you hand the funds over, they are no longer in your control. She would no longer be accountable to your group and she could purchase anything with it, whether or not you approve. If those are your concerns, then I would have to advise against. I'm not sure what expenses she would be incurring that your group would even feel obligated to cover. Perhaps you could ask that she provide a summary of what things she would be spending that amount on. It's antirely possible your group is already covering those expenses under a different umbrella.

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
A typical use for a discretionary spending account is to allow the principal quietly to help students in need. She's in the best position to know who and how to help, and that information needs to be confidential. You can ask her for a summary of how the money was spent, eg: we helped x number of students do x, y, and z type of things. But you don't need (or want, in my opinion) a dollar for dollar accounting. $1,500 sounds like a lot, depending on the size and economic situation in your school, so it's certainly possible the principal has other things in mind as well. I'd suggest talking with her about how she would use the money, then create parameters based on what she has to say -- parameters you both can agree to. As mentioned in the comments below, once you give her the money, you have no control over how she spends it. But you do have leverage. If you're not happy with the way she spends it or the way she reports (or doesn't report) how it was used, you simply don't give her that money again. Also, if $1,500 is too much, give $300 or $500 at a time, then make another allocation when that money has been spent and you've received some report on how it was used.

Community Advice

bchase writes:
For the past 4 years we've allocated $25,000/year for a Principal's grant which they have spent on technology, Educational Assistants and field trip grants. It is important to have a strong working relationship with school leadership and as they trust you to deliver your events and utilize the school, you need to trust them and help support their agenda as we believe our parent group reports to the Principal and works for the school ( for free ) I personally think $1,500 is a small annual sum to request.

Community Advice

lasnell68 writes:
We allocate money for our Prinicpal's discretionary use. She uses it for training for teachers that the school board will no longer pay for, and for incentives for students, programs, etc. We take the mind set of..."all the money we raise is for the school, the teachers are adults and we should treat them as educated, intelligent adults and trust that they aren't going to run off and use the money for a personal vacation." It is a common practice amongst schools in our district, and if all school systems are cutting budgets as much as ours, and the PTO can raise the money, I suggest giving it to the principal. If you ask for general uses, I'm sure the Prinicpal will be happy to share them, but don't treat her like one of the students...treat her like the adult she (and you!) is!

Community Advice

cindyg31696 writes:
We give our principal a discrentitionary fund of $600 each month, we keep the money and buy what she needs, if she needs it. She has never spent the entire amount and is very frugal with the funds. We know the money is going towards the students, faculty or school.

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