Question: By-law amendment - large purchase

recently our pto made a large purchase of $20,000. the decision to allocate funds for this purpose were not highly marketed or publicized. we want to add an amendment to our by-laws that requires more feedback around such a large purchase. we are a community of about 450 children. there are suggestions to survey the community and require a certain number of survey respondents or a percentage. the intent is to get away from 10-15 people at a monthly meeting making a decision of this magnitude. A suggested threshold of $10,000 is being considered. Meaning a survey must be provided to the entire community and a minimum number must respond in order for the expense to be approved. Any suggestions/thoughts on by-law language?

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

gjcoram writes:
I'd be reluctant to add specific language like that. We had to amend our articles of incorporation to fit IRS rules; this required a certain threshold of families to vote, and it was a big pain getting everyone to respond. We had only 4 non-board members (and 4 of 5 board members) at our last PTO meeting, so 10-15 looks pretty good. It would be unfortunate if your PTO got excited about a particular opportunity to contribute a large sum for some purpose and got stymied because the rest of the school didn't like to respond to surveys.

Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
gjcoram raises some great points. Totally get where you are coming from -- a $20,000 purchase is huge and it may have felt odd to have a small group voting on it. But, if you perform your due diligence and get the word out about an upcoming vote, then, it is really up to the parents to get involved and come to the meeting if they want to vote. The concern is if you set up a rule that requires the entire community to be surveyed you could find a whole lot of effort goes into the survey, getting it to parents, tracking responses, etc.., then you are putting a big burden on yourself that may not get you a big response. 

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