Question: What can a PTO pay for or should NOT pay for?

What can a PTO pay for or should NOT pay for? For example I've heard we can pay for "decorations" but can't pay for furniture - is this true? Is there some standard list that provides examples of what a PTO can pay for and should NOT pay for?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
There isn't an official list, but in general your group should make purchases that support its mission and adhere to the guidelines under which a 501c(3) nonprofit operates.

We have an article that puts this in plain English that I think you'll find helpful:

What Should PTOs Pay For?

Hope this helps!

Community Advice

Kknkmama74 writes:
I have the same question! Our principal has been using our fundraising money to purchase toner for the copier among other things without the permission of the executive board.

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
The principal shouldn't be spending money on anything without permission. Even if you're putting PTO money into a school account, the funds from that account should be controlled by the PTO. It's a real breach of faith by the principal to spend the money without making a formal request.

I'd start there -- talking to the principal about the account. Nothing should be spent without permission from the president or board. In fact, checks shouldn't be written without being countersigned by the president or treasurer. (You would in that case require two signatures on each check.)

In my opinion, toner should be a school expense. But if that's an issue, it's perfectly OK for the PTO to decide to fund it. But that's the key -- it should be a decision rather than something you are forced to do.

Community Advice

Kknkmama74 writes:
Thank you, Craig!

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