Question: How much is too much for teachers?

Our school loves our teachers. But, we are spending a lot to show the love. We do a monthly gift card draw and a welcome back to school breakfast ($1,000) and teacher appreciation week ($2k to $3k). We may raise 10-20k a year. When do you say it needs to go back to the students?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
It's hard to say if what you spend is too much without knowing the size of the school, relationship with teachers, and other factors. Very generally speaking, however, the does sound like a lot of money for teacher appreciation.

One idea: Head over to the PTO and PTA Leaders & Volunteers group on Facebook and ask your question there. You'll get lots of feedback from fellow PTO leaders.

Here's the link:

Good luck!
Community Manager

Community Advice

ParentAtSchool writes:
Review your PTO’s mission statement. As a non profit, your time and money should be focusing on advancing your mission statement. Planting trees and picking up trash from the beach is good but if your non profit’s mission is to eradicate cancer, then you shouldn’t be doing those activities because they don’t align with your mission.

If it’s a PTA, the PTA’s mission statement is pretty clear that the majority of the time and money needs to go directly back to the students. A lot of people are like “T for Teachers” but PTA’s mission statement has no mention of teachers at all. It’s about advocating for the kids. If you raise 10K and 40% of the budget is going to hospitality, which are gifts and food to teachers but nothing directly back to the students (who btw are the ones raising most of the funds) it’s way too much and not advancing your mission. 5% of a program budget is ideal for hospitality but beyond that you need to question if you’re focused on your mission.

I sure love it when teachers complain about not having money for student snacks and classroom supplies but don’t bat an eye on their own gifts and luncheons using donor money and no real plans on using a teacher grant to enhance the classroom experience.

Unfortunately in many PTA/PTO units, board members act as mere cheerleaders for teachers and administrators constantly feeding them and supplying them with gifts but not real advocates for the students. Parental involvement is not about feeding teachers and showering them with gifts. It is about asking questions to teachers and administrators to ensure they are meeting their mission in educating children.

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