Question: Limiting our spending

I serve on a PAC board in D150 schools, Peoria Illinois. Some of our Board Members are looking into having more control over spending within each PTO body, in other words, limiting how we spend our funds. What control can our board have over us legally? At what point do they step out of bounds? Ours is a very well run and accountable PTO who doesn't feel needs the changes proposed by the board members. Aren't we a separate entity? They say we are not. Need insight here. They've taken all the joy out of serving here.

Asked by Jill Dryden



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
Your PTO is independent if you've organized it as an independent entity. If you have your own EIN and bank account, and even more so if you're incorporated and/or have 501c3 tax-exempt status from the IRS. On the other hand, if you deposit your money in the school account and have never applied for an EIN (employer identification number -- kind of a social security number for businesses), you could be considered a committee of the school and the you would have less autonomy. Either way, school administrators these days understand that parent involvement is important to the success of a school. Your best approach is probably to make the board see that their actions could have a significant effect on parent involvement, thus hurting the school. Try to find the underlying issue. For instance, are they concerned that PTO spending is creating inequities between schools? Do they want PTO funds to be spent in more strategic ways to support the curriculum? etc. Once you get to the root of the issue, then you can seek a compromise that will address their concerns without significantly curtailing the PTO. Maybe it involves working closely with the principal to determine priorities at the beginning of the year. Maybe it will involve rethinking some of your activities. Whatever the solution, it's in nobody's interest to kill involvement. Good luck!

Community Advice

Jill Dryden writes:
Very helpful Craig. Thank you!

Answer this question: