Question: PTOs and Boosters now falling under the schools?

Someone recently told me that there's some kind of new law that gives schools power over their booster clubs and PTO type organizations. Meaning they have control over their finances? They said the way to avoid such a mess is to stay safely tucked under the PTAs national umbrella? Because I guess the PTA's entity keeps you out of the school's reach? Has anyone heard anything like this?

Asked by Allen



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Hi Allen -- I don't know what state you're in or what regulation you're talking about, so I'll speak generally. Both PTOs and PTAs can be separate and independent from the school, and I don't know of any states that treat them differently if they are. That makes sense since both PTOs and PTAs do the same thing at the school level. Structurally speaking, PTAs are covered under the National PTA's umbrella. They automatically receive tax-exempt status under section 501c3 of the federal tax code. In return, they agree to follow PTA bylaws and rules, and to pay PTA dues. PTOs must incorporate and file for their own tax-exempt status (if they choose to do so). By handling this process themselves, they get to create their own rules and bylaws based on what's best for their group, and they keep all of the funds they raise for themselves. Some PTOs choose not to go through this process and function as an arm of the school. That naturally gives the school more control over what the group does.

Community Advice

PTOfan1 writes:
When PTOs decide to go directly through the school, including sending all funds directly through a line item in the school's budget, can they still set up bylaws that govern how those particular funds are to be allocated? If the school administration signs off on the set of bylaws, wouldn't it be possible - in theory - that the PTO could still have a level of autonomy over financial decisions?

Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi PTOfan? A level of autonomy? Yes. If the funds went through the school, and the district and/or principal allowed your parent organization to direct those funds, then there would be some autonomy. I've seen that structure. It's not total autonomy, especially if new principal or district director has new ideas, but it can work. Tim

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