Question: Who is responsible for paying what (school district vs PTO)?

We have a current issue where the school district wants the PTO to pay ALL payments directly to vendors for items we fund. The PTO currently pays vendors directly for activities that it manages/initiates (i.e. catalog fundraiser, yearbook production, teacher conference meals). We ask school staff to submit funding requests for items that the school needs/wants but doesn't have funds available to purchase (or have the funds, but would like to use them elsewhere). We vote as a group to approve funding these requests via a payment to the school. We want these purchases to be done via the district since they are the ones originating the transaction (i.e. purchase iPads for student use in classroom, pay fees & busing for school fieldtrips). The PTO doesn't have an established relationship with these vendors and does not want to "purchase" assets and donate them to the school. The PTO is a 501(c)3 with our own checking account. What is the correct manner to handle these type of transactions? Please advise.

Asked by sriesing



Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
It seems a bit cleaner to me to have the PTO purchase them and then donate them to the school--then you know the money is spent as you intended and you have all the paperwork to back it up. Just make sure it is clear that is what you are doing so that the items get insured by the district's insurance policy.

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