Question: PTO Gift Giving

Is it appropriate to give teachers $50 gift cards as a gift using PTO funds?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
That seems high to me. It depends to a certain extent on how much your budget is and how many teachers you have -- in other words, how much of a percentage of your total budget you're spending on this. One great way to say thanks to teachers is to give them a certain amount to spend specifically on classroom needs. The average teacher spends hundreds of dollars of his own money on classroom supplies and teaching aides each year. Helping with that cost has a similar effect to giving a gift card, but it's likely more in line with the PTO's mission.

Community Advice

mgbraden7 writes:
Every year, in August, we give each teacher a $50 check to help cover their school supplies. This is not "gift giving" though. It is specifically used for supplies in the classroom. While $50 for this purpose doesn't sound like a lot, the teachers really appreciate it. As a PTO Board, we make sure the funds to cover this are passed to the new Board in our summer transition.

Community Advice

mbopmom writes:
That sounds about right, but it can be even more it just depends on the number of teachers, the amount of funds, and expectations from previous years. Like Craig said, teachers already spend hundreds each year on their students and if it is a personal "gift " or a class supply gift it doesn't matter because in the end it still won't cover what they actually spend and when you give them money for supplies, you really have no way to trace the money, once you give it you can't control it.

Community Advice

mtjrrubin writes:
Last year we purchased gift certificates from a local school supply store and teachers found they often couldn't get what they were looking for. This year our group opted to give a gift certificate that they could use to purchase items through the school catalog as they needed through the year. With the school district budget cuts the teachers were thrilled. I did have one teacher ask about purchasing a new digital camera for her cross cat classroom. I thought it was a great need and said just to submit the bill to PTO for reimbursement. I think it all depends on if you want the money to go towards school needs or a personal gift for the teacher and the PTO's budget.

Community Advice

refinnej97 writes:
There has been a trend for several years prior to my involvement with PTO to give our teachers $50 gift cards for "personal use" to a local discount store, the mall, etc. We already give the teachers $250 for use in their classroom. We live in a very affluent community and our PTO has a high operating budget. However, I still wonder if giving $50 gift cards for personal use is an appropriate use of our PTO funds that parents and community members have generously dontated to our school.

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