Question: Unused Class Gift Funds Dilemma

Our PTO made a donation to the school on behalf of an exiting class. This was money that the class raised and they donated it for a specific need that was evident within the school. That was almost 2 years ago and that class gift has still not been purchased by the school. The PTO has been involved in the process periodically but when we propose what we believe to be a solid plan, the Principal has another thing that they want to check out and the brakes are applied ... again. The Principal has offered to return the funds at times but has never done it. Can the PTO request that the funds be returned so that we can move forward with the gift? If so, is there a sample letter available that we can use as a spring-board for this request? The district is unhappy that they have responded to the school's need and plan but the school hasn't followed through. We want to minimize damage to the school's reputation and provide for this still evident need. We also want to be assured that the money designated for this purpose still exists.

Asked by luvinlif2k



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
The principal is telling you, without saying it out loud, that he doesn't consider this a priority. Whatever need the money was donated to address is not very high on his list of concerns. There are two likely reasons the principal would stall: 1. He already spent the money on something else; 2. He doesn't want to devote the time that this project would require of him.

It would be a lot easier to figure out a next step if you knew which one of these was the cause of the delay. One possibility is to assume it's the time issue. Meet with him and put together a committee that will do all the work -- with the exception of things that absolutely must be done by the principal. If he balks at this or continues to find ways to stall, you'll know that's not the issue.

In the end, you can't really control how something is used once it's donated. It's certainly questionable to use money donated for one purpose to fund something else. If that's the case, then you'll need to decide how to pursue the situation. One possibility is to raise more money, purchase whatever needs to be purchased, and donate it to the school as a gift. Another is to bring significant pressure to bear on the principal. Something like that can really split the school, but you will be better situation to make the decision about whether that's worth it. Good luck, and please let us know how things go.

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