Question: How the PTO can use funds that were raised

Last year our PTO raised funds for student enrichment programs. Can the new board reallocate the reserves to purchase equipment such as air conditioners instead of programming as originally communicated?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If you leveraged the idea of enrichment programing to raise the money, you should spend it toward that purpose. I would certainly consider it a breach of faith as a parent if I was asked to "support the 5th grade field trip to Washington DC," for example, and then discovered the money was spent on air conditioners. I'm not sure of the legalities -- my general impression is that as long as you didn't misrepresent your intentions at the time of the fundraiser and you eventually use the money toward your group's overall mission, you're OK legally. (But -- disclaimer -- this is not legal advice!) I do think there's an ethical question, though. If there's an emergency and you have to use the money for another purpose, that's one thing. But if parents think you pulled one over on them (appearance matters more than reality in that case), you will have a very hard time raising money in the future.

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