Question: New school principal trying to take the pto funds that were raised last year.

My name is Melanie. I have been the president of the pto at my kids' elementary school for 2 years now. The school got a new principal last year and she is trying to make decisions on money that we raised and have already made a decision on. We decided to give each teacher $50 towards classroom supplies. What can I do about it??? She's trying to buy unnecessary items that we have not approved. She is also holding a meeting and calling it PTA, after she asked us to meet on Monday, and then texting my personal phone on the day of, saying her "team" wasn't available to meet that day and asked if we could meet on Thursday instead. I told her I was not available to meet on Thursday but she still held the meeting anyway. I will also add this...the VP moved and is no longer there, the treasurer got a job, and is no longer there and the secretary moved to a different school(she is a teacher)...thus leaving just ME...and the new principal told me at the beginning of the year that the pto was "on hold" because of all the chair holders being gone. so everything WAS put on hold, but now when SHE thinks its convenient, she wants to try to make up some rules. If someone could please let me know if what she's doing is legal, I would greatly appreciate some advice, because what she's doing is wrong, and she knows it. she also has 2 laptops that were GRANTED to the pto specifically last year but keeps making excuses about why they're missing...HELP! Regards,

Asked by meldrwal2462



Advice from PTO Today

Liz L writes:
Hi Melanie,
Sorry to hear things have been so challenging! Is it possible to take a step back and ask for a meeting to talk things through? If you can find out more about how the principal sees your group and then share what your group hopes to do—and how your hard work will benefit the children at the school—there’s a good chance the principal will become more open to your ideas. If this simply doesn't happen, maybe you can arrange to both meet with the superintendent to try to come to a better place?

In terms of how to spend the money, many PTOs budget a certain amount of money for the principal to spend on items or needs as they come up. However, the principal should be required to make a formal written request to the PTO board before she has access to these funds; the request should indicate how the money will be used and how it will benefit the students. The principal may come to the board with additional requests, and your board can handle those requests at its discretion. If your bylaws don’t specify to allocate funds through mutual discussion (with the final decision in the hands of the PTO board), then an amendment would be in order. You do want your budget to support the school’s goals, but you don’t want the school—or the principal—in control of your budget.

Good luck!

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