Question: Mandating the use of school vendor lists when expending PTO funds

By law, does the PTO have to use the school's approved vendor list in order to make purchases for things like computers? We know we can get a much better deal on computers with the same features than what can be purchased through the school's vendor list. Why should we waste our hard-earned dollars? How can the school dictate how this gift of money is used?

Asked by LaurGin



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
As a government entity, a public school has a lot of rules to follow, including how they can spend their money. If you're giving the school money to purchase something, they have to follow the rules. You may be able to get around the rules by purchasing the item, then donating it to the school. Talk to the principal about why the specific vendors are preferred for the item you're going to purchase. If it's a computer, there might be some things you haven't thought about. For instance, the district might have a service contract with a certain vendor. The bottom line is that as an independent PTO, you can purchase items from any vendor you would like. However, some school districts are very cautious about the rules they must follow. So make sure you work out the details before you make the purchase. You don't want to buy something and have the school refuse to accept it.

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