Question: PTO Image

Our PTO has boxed itself into an image of being the social arm of the school. Last year not one penny was given to projects advancing education, but thousands of dollars were spent on teacher appreciation, end of year party for 8th graders, flowers for staff/teachers, etc. This year I'm the President, mainly because I didn't like the direction this PTO had taken. We have several fund raisers, but I do not believe the school staff or teachers understand that we are raising money to help the school, not just run a "cup and flower fund". The issue that made me realize this was over something we're selling. One member (not an officer) unilaterally decided to "give" these to everyone in the front office. The items had been given to her to sell that day. I was really taken aback that the assistant principals took them, and didn't say something like "well this is your fund raiser, why don't I pay the $5". My husband pointed out that to them it's just another trinket the PTO is giving. How do we change our image? I know actions will speak louder than words, but it seems the image is so burned in that it will take something more to change it.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
You are in an interesting spot.

On the one hand, you are absolutely right that the PTO's mission should be to help the school and fundraising dollars should go enrichment programs for the kids and community building events.

However, part of community building does involve teacher appreciation and celebrations such as 8th grade graduation. Not to the extent that you are describing, but, certainly, some celebrations are important.

It does sound like the PTO may have a certain image of gift giving. It will take some time for you to tweak it. Encourage conversations at meetings about this topic and how you feel an adjustment would really best serve the community. You are better off trying to get parents and teachers to adapt over time than trying to make any sudden and big changes.

Good luck!

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