Question: HELP!

Questions matching "We are a 501(c)3 PTO and have been having a great year raising money for updating our playground equipment for the students. Last year, our former PTO president agreed, without the board voting, to give the principal $5000 of the PTO's funds raised for Professional Development for the teachers and staff (aides). That was about 1/2 our income last year. Our school is small and in a very rural area with a lot of low income. So raising money is something that is very hard to do. This year, the principal is asking for $6500 for more Professional Development. The parents in our PTO all said NO. Now the principal is threatening to take away our fundraising and use it for himself. He's been spying on our meetings. He's also been bullying teachers into not speaking up to him because our state is going into "performance based" pay. So.. I'm looking to see if anyone has any advice on this. Or.. Has anyone heard if there is any violation of 501(c)3 if you pay for professional development. I have had some people tell me we could be in violation, but cannot find any evidence to take to the principal. Thanks!"

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
We can say it isn't common for groups to fund teacher professional development at the level in which you are funding it. Your mission is to support the school and students and to fund programs and events that help you meet that mission. Helping teachers is part of that mission, but probably not to the extent you are explaining. Your principal shouldn't be able to "take" your funds. We're sure they are earmarked for programs and the funds have are already committed. Not sure why the principal is spying on your meetings -- he should come to the meetings and be a participant in our group. At a minimum, it sounds like you need to do a sit-down meeting with the principal and express your concerns about providing any more funds towards professional development for the teachers.

Hope this helps! Stay in touch!


Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If your group is a 501c3, your funds should be in your own bank account. The principal has no authority over those funds. If you're currently depositing them with the school, it's time to open your own account.

I agree with Rose, you need to sit down with the principal to discuss goals. He undoubtedly sees a hole in his budget for professional development. The district should pay for that, but maybe there are other things you can do to help out that would free up money for him to fund it with the school's money. A frank discussion about goals should help, and don't be afraid to stand your ground. If he feels like he can push you around, he will.

Also, there's a point at which you should talk to the superintendent about what's going on in your school. If the teachers are truly afraid of the principal, you might be getting to that point.

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