Question: PTO vs. School Board

Our PTO recently raised several thousand dollars to install a new playpod. We did this through donations and grants. Some of the checks were written directly to the school, but were designated for the playpod. In turn, the school wrote a check to the PTO for the same amount. Until the last check. The school has changed their policy and they will no longer write checks to the PTO. They say it is illegal. Our PTO is not a 5013c organization yet. Is our school being difficult, or is it truly a legal matter? Thanks for your input.

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

gjcoram writes:
Our PTO donated money to the town to build the playground -- this way, the warranty, etc. were all held by the town. Are you sure you want the money to come to the PTO? It might be easier the other way around, and you wouldn't have to worry about legality.

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
"Illegal" isn't the right term, but it is a tax issue. Has your group applied for 501c3? If so, then when you get your approval it will be retroactive so you should be in good shape. Until then, because of tax rules, the school will be reluctant to write checks to you other than for direct payment.

Either way, I agree with gjcoram's advice below -- it's typical for the PTO to donate the playground equipment to the school anyway, so it probably makes sense in your case for the school to actually make the purchase.

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