PTO Today Q&A

Question: Legal Standing

I am a PTO President now starting my 3rd year. I never really pushed the issue but now parents are asking....should we and if so how do we separate our funds from the school? They are currently included in the school's bank account.


Asked by MBSEmily

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Answers:

Community Advice

gjcoram writes:
Is your PTO a separate organization? (is it incorporated? do you have an EIN from the IRS? have you filed for 501(c)(3) status?) If not, you have some work to do before you can separate your funds.


Community Advice

MBSEmily writes:
No, we are not separate. We use the school's ein for tax exempt purchases. I think it would be more work than any of us are prepared for.


Community Advice

mnowak8202 writes:
We have always had a seperate bank account. NEVER co mingle funds BUT we have to file taxes and such. You will need to get a Tax ID number for your PTO.


Community Advice

milkbrain writes:
our group is seperate, but we're not otherwise official in any other sense. We're not 501c3 and, not incorporated with the state, but we do have our own EIN # for our bank account. These are fairly easy (and free) to get via the IRS.gov website. That is the first thing you should do. YOu need that EIN number to open the bank account. then you need to talk with the district about getting your money, which might be a pain in the butt if they require requistion forms and actual details of a purchase, rather than just getting a withdrawl.


Community Advice

MBSEmily writes:
The issue concerning the school board is they have said it is a district wide rule that the money must be kept the school's account. They say we cannot get a separate account .


Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi MBS - That's a very, very unusual rule (not the norm at all). We've seen more districts enacting rules asking/requiring that parent groups have some strong systems in place (annual audit, insurance, etc.) -- but very few if any requiring PTO funds be school funds. It's especially rare in the public school space, where that leads to accounting issues, as well.

The fact is the district can't completely forbid an independent group from forming on its own. But -- if the district doesn't like the group or its policies -- the district can do things like not allow a group to meet on school grounds or send flyers home, etc. So education and compromise is the key.


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