Question: Do we need our own bank account?

We are a new PTO and the Principal insisted that our funds be kept in the school's bank account. This has been very inconvienient for us all year and I am wondering if there are any official rules regarding having our own bank account. I am the President, but I, like the rest of the board have no experience!! Please Help!!

Asked by onicci



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
You need your own bank account. As you have discovered, it's very difficult to do business when you don't have direct access to the money. It's also extra work for the school staff. Your principal is probably worried about keeping the funds safe, and it's a legitimate concern. However, if you implement proper financial controls, the money will be just as safe in your account as in the school account. First, get bonding insurance to protect your group against theft of funds. Second, set up a system so that the bank statement is reviewed each month by someone who is not a signer on the account. Those two steps will significantly reduce your risk. Also, if you haven't done it, your group will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is like a social security number for businesses, and the bank will require it from you. Go to and fill out form SS-4. It takes just a few minutes. Also, please read the article 5 Smart Financial Controls. Your best bet is to relieve the principal's concerns by showing him that you will handle the money in a businesslike fashion. Regarding insurance, PTO Today has set up an insurance plan specifically for parent groups. It's usually a fair amount less expensive that what groups can find on their own. Good luck!

Community Advice

Braddy writes:
Thanks Craig! I am a new PTO Pres. too and facing a similar issue. Unfortunately, our princliple has threatened to terminate employees questioning her demanding the pto be placed in our schools general funds! I was told that because of this change I will need to give the secretary 10-14 days notice before being able to access any funds. This completely circumvents the PTO treasurer the group autonomy. I was considering taking the issue to the superintendant. What do you think?

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