Question: When to reject PTO funding requests??

I am on a new PTO board of a new elementary school. Since we are new we have started the year with zero dollars. We had our first fundraiser which was very successful, however we are getting requests left and right for money (help with snacks for field trips, PE teacher incentive prizes, Media Center incentive prizes) we as a board are not sure at what point do we say NO.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
You need to create a budget. Discuss your goals as a group -- how can you best contribute to the school (whether financially or in terms of volunteer work, community-building, etc.). I'd recommend involving the principal in this discussion. Then talk about your priorities, based on those goals, for spending money. When you settle on the areas that you feel are most important, create a budget by category based on those priorities. For example, you might decide that building a strong sense of community at the school is important. Family nights can be a good mechanism to get parents into the school and interested in what's going on. So you decide to fund three family nights throughout the year. Undoubtedly you'll want to fund teacher requests, so it's important to create a mechanism for teachers to submit them and for your group to consider them. I'd recommend having a form that teachers fill out, with information about how much money is needed, the purpose, and the benefits. If you're getting that many requests, you might have a committee review them and make recommendations to the group as a whole. It will be a lot easier to say no if you have a system in place and a good reason for saying no. What you don't want is for it to feel random -- some teachers get what they want and others don't. So determine your priorities and put a system in place, then communicate those to teachers and staff so they can tailor their requests to things that fit within those parameters.

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