Question: Entire Board Calapse

Our President is currently in court for financial matters with the PTO and school and school board! I am a second year parent that has been trying to get a pto back in place. However, the (school)..not school board!, has taken funds from bank and put into another account and no one even the old board knows what the financials are! I have asked for a meeting to nominate and vote on a new board, but keep getting the run around. How can I convince, and believe me I've tried , to get the principal to allow a new PTO?

Asked by loraC



Community Advice

firefighter464 writes:
Can you tell me, is the old PTO a registered 501(c)3? Or is it somehow operating as an arm of the school? It is a common misconception among parents that a PTO is actually PART of your school. If it is it's own 501(c)3, you have to understand that it is an entirely separate entity, just like a Rotary Club or a Church or The American Cancer Society. Its just that the PTO mission statement probably benefits the school and the children. The principal in that case really has absolutely no say so unless you holding meetings on school property or distribute information via the school system or use school copiers, which often becomes the case with PTO groups. (Sure it's convenient, but you don't have to do it that way.) As such, folks tend to operate as if what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas --which leads to things like those financial troubles--and you feel under the school's control, and they ACT as if they own you. It simply isn't true. Shake off that feeling and find a place outside the school where you can meet, a method of communicating with other interested parents, and if the old PTO is in trouble you may want to create a brand new separate 501c3 and start from scratch. (What worked great in our community was writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. Suddenly we had 62 interested people wanting to restart a PTO while if we'd left it to the principal, for 2 years she had refused to distribute a flyer soliciting parents for a PTO, deciding on her own that there wasn't any interest. Today you have social media and lots of other resources for communicating.) You will of course find lots of help and info on this site for your start up. That lets the old President and board handle the liability s/he has created and distances your group from them. I find it suspicious if the principal isn't 'allowing' a new PTO, either distrust (or simply a headache) has been put in place from this old guard or worse the principal may be part of the financials problems as well. Hopefully that's not the case. You sound like a leader who cares. It will be harder work to do it this way, but it would be worth the trouble, believe me, to get your own group some distance both financially and socially. You will of course, want to extend a hand of cooperation to the principal and it will be to his/her benefit to do so once you are already formed because your mission is to serve his/her school. Who would turn you away for that?

Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi loraC, While I think firefighter 464 makes a great point about a group's independence, I also think that finding a way to work with the school administration is important as well. If an adversarial role develops, your group won't get as much done as it would like and the kids end up paying the price. Your question suggests some tough stuff has taken place, so you might want to consider letting the dust settle a bit. Maybe consider working towards starting up a new group for the next school year. You might want to reach out to the principal and let her know that. Indicate that you want to find a way to work together and stress that one of your goals is to put strong organizational and financial controls in place. In the meantime, there is still technically a parent group in place that can still function without its president. A VP could step in. Or, your board and members could take a vote on something if necessary. I also agree with firefighter464 that you sound like a good leader! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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