Question: What is the PTO entitled to pay for?

Our PTO is small and has all new members due to the fact that the old member parents' kids moved onto middle school. We have no lists of rules to adhere to or at least use as a guideline. Our principal is continually wanting to use PTO funds for EVERYTHING! The few members we have in the PTO are frustrated as it seems all we are doing is writing out checks. And then when asked where the money is going, what it is for, or when even asking for receipts the principle gets upset and were left with unanswered questions. We are unsure of exactly what we are suppose to be paying for or entitle to pay for? Is there a set or rules or guideline anywhere that may state this?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
I'm thinking you might turn the fact that you are small and just getting off the ground into a positive -- it's a great time to establish goals and strategies and just general guidelines for moving forward. It sounds like a sit-down with the principal is in order, and, again, because you are a new group (or have many new members) it is a great time to do that. Clear up how the fundraising and funding is going to work. If you are an independent parent group doing fundraising then you are entitled to determine how the money is going to be spent. Of course, you don't want to come out swinging with the principal -- you are much better off to work out a partnership and learn how to work together so you can make funding decisions that are mutually beneficial.  General guidelines for spending should be in the group's earlier bylaws, but in general you want to be spending your money on programs, equipment., etc. that directly benefit the students and school community. Here's an article on working with a principal that might come in handy. Good luck and please stay in touch!

Community Advice

lesleyharrison writes:
you do need to get receipts for every penny spent, to cover your selves in-case of future financial audits or for the irs. A paper trail for the money coming into and going out of your bank accounts is very important.

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