Question: Going from being under the schools umbrella to a PTO

Currently we are a Parent Service Club under the umbrella of our Elementary School Principal. This year we added a new Public Charter Elementary with its own principal. We have joined together the two schools under our Parents Service Club, but are still under the original Elementary School principal. So I have two questions: 1. Would it be better to become a PTO and file for our own status? and 2. What is the best way to approach that?

Asked by adfilson



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If you're going to serve two schools, your group should probably be independent and not an arm of either school. That involves getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS if you don't have one already. (Simply fill out form SS-4 on the IRS website -- the whole process takes 15 minutes.) You need an EIN to open your own bank account under your group's name. I would also recommend incorporating in your state (you'll have to have bylaws in place to do that) and applying for tax-exempt status, called 501c3 status, from the IRS. That's a longer process, and tax-exempt status is retroactive to your incorporation date so incorporate first. Read the article 501c3 for PTOs for more information. You might also find the article How To Start a PTO helpful, but the first page or so probably covers territory that you've already taken care of.

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