PTO Today Q&A

Question: PTO funds question- middle school is being split into two schools and new PTO being formed

We are faced with our current middle school population being split due to overcrowding and a new middle school was built to alleviate this. As a current board member we have addressed this with those attending the meetings that fundraising funds would be split according to the percentage of students transferring as that would be the most fair. A new board is being formed by a former board member (they have not been elected yet) and now they are contesting this and saying we can request a donation from them and maybe they will give this to us. This has been frustrating to us as all the current board members will be going to the new school, these people have not been elected yet, but now they are implying that we are going to abscond with funds for the new school (which is completely ridiculous) and are essentially trying to bully this board into giving in to their demands- their argument is that since the students get a new school they don't need that money. Any suggestions of similar situations would be helpful.


Asked by Anonymous

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Answers:

Community Advice

kristinlau writes:
I am the one that asked this question but felt I needed to clarify more.
1. The money in question was raised by all the current students at the existing middle, including those that are staying and those who are transferring.
2. We have not done elections yet, so this is coming from prospective people who may be elected as the new board.
3. Our bylaws indicate that all decisions are made by the current board, which includes the executive board as well as committee chairs- so technically we can make this decision without their input at the meeting- Our president (and we agree) has tried to make all decisions by the board transparent to all parents attending meetings, as well as in meeting minutes that are sent out to parents. We have tried to be open, honest, and fair with all decisions based on what is good for the students and not personal biases.
3. These allegations were made at another school's volunteer meal, these people have never spoken to us, never met us and have never attended a board meeting. No interest in the board has ever been expressed until money became involved.
4. Several times the phrase "well they get the newer better school" has been stated.
5. Our new school will have no startup funds if this potential new board has their way, in essence they are taking the funds away from the students who raised solely due to the fact that because of boundary lines changing they are now in a new school area.


Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If the current board feels strongly, why not make the money transfer now? You can create an EIN and set up a bank account for the new group. If you wait until after the election, the new board will have the option to undo what you have already decided.

Another option is to appoint a committee chaired by a current board member who will be staying at the current school to decide what to do. Add the principal if that will help. Require them to make a decision before the current board leaves office. This might add some feeling of being heard to people who are opposed to the decision. And I would say there decision doesn't have to be 50 /50 split or nothing. They might decide on a different ratio or a flat number.

I'm curious to know how much money is involved. Can you share that? Overall, I completely disagree that because the families get a new school they don't need money to start a PTO. If you think having a PTO is important, and I definitely do, the it's important for the existing school to help the new one get started.


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