Question: PTO using money for personal use - repercussions?

Long story short. PTO members spent a bunch of money on stuff over summer, wasn't voted on but was for kids. Somehow we went from a balance of $10k (after spending $20k on playground equipment) to $1400. No receipts have been shown and they changed their statement to go to their personal homes. Last statement my principal saw was in June, where she saw charges at coffee stands, restaurants, and even a hair place, among other cash withdrawals. Their explanation was there were "team building", couldn't explain hair place and said they'd deposited money back from cash withdrawals. Teachers are starting to learn this info and they're furious. The cabinet has changed bi laws and told our principal she doesn't have a say. They've admitted to another teacher they did so much work and they deserved it and said they'd bought their families dinner a couple of times. Told same teacher they have been researching fraud and can't get in trouble if it's not more than $5k for personal use. Principal and admin are getting involved. Are these cabinet members really able to use this for any personal use? I'm new to being on the PTO as an employee of the school. Thank you in advance for your responses!

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Liz L writes:
This does not seem OK or within most groups' bylaws. If your group is a 501(c)(3) there could be repercussions for spending money on things that aren't tied to the mission of the group -- not to mention, spending money that has (presumably) been raised through fundraising can result in a serious violation of parents' trust that could take a long time to recover from.
When you say "changed bylaws," bylaws amendments/changes usually require a two-thirds vote -- it doesn't sound like this happened at all here.
It sounds like the administration is getting involved -- if this doesn't stop, you should consider escalating this to the district level.
For the future you should have bank statements go to the school and more than one person should review. If the offenders used a debit card, you might want to cancel that card. Make clear that people can only be reimbursed by providing receipt and filling out form, and it has to be an approved expense.
Good luck.
Liz from PTO Today

Community Advice

trippingbillies writes:
Thank you for your response! The district got involved and it’s messy! The PTO had been using the district's 501c3 and our superintendent went and removed them from the bank account and suspended our ability to have a PTP The student council will now be taking over a number of the events for the year, which is a committee I also sit on!

Community Advice

daddario writes:
Given the situation with the PTO members' unapproved expenditures and lack of transparency, it's crucial to address this issue methodically and legally. Similar to how zksync rpc operates with transparency and security in blockchain transactions, your approach should involve clear, verifiable records and adherence to established governance. It's advisable to consult with legal counsel to understand the implications of the misused funds and the changes in bylaws. Additionally, gathering all stakeholders for a comprehensive review of the financial activities and bylaws changes is essential. Ensuring transparency, accountability, and adherence to the organization's rules is paramount, much like the principles underlying secure and transparent blockchain transactions with systems like zkSync.

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