PTO Today Q&A

Question: How Much Principal Involvement is Okay?

Last spring, our principal and teachers held a fundraiser (separate from our PTO) and were quite successful (to the tune of $15,000). Then the principal spoke with our treasurer and got the money put into the PTO account - but dictated how it was divided. Our accountant explained how this is a really bad idea - so the board had decided that we wouldn’t be doing this again. Jump ahead to this fall. Because of Covid, our whole school year has been interrupted. Our teachers are working from home for at least half the year. At the beginning of the school year, several teachers went out and purchased items we would not have approved (one on the advice of our principal) - they all plan to use this fundraiser money. We explained why we couldn’t cover this items (they are all districted provided, the teachers just didn’t do their due diligence and figure out what was available to them and not). This was obviously not a popular answer and it has lead to a lot of upset teachers. We’ve realized in all of this that our Bylaws are very outdated and that we needed to update our Guidelines for Reimbursement Requests. We decided as a board to take a couple month break from PTO duties to focus on this task (which is ideal since our students are not in the schools until at least January). This angered our Principal and teaches and they are pushing for us to get back up and running as fast as possible. Our Principal is sending us guidelines for rewriting our Bylaws and how she thinks it needs to be done. She’s also wanting to make sure she is made aware of all planning meetings (presumably so she can attend and have her input). Finally, she wants teachers to be a part of the planning committee (we’d be fine with one or two as representatives, but considering we have literally no support from our teachers and haven’t in at least five years, we’re worried they would have an ulterior motive). Our question is this... how much involvement is a Principal allowed with a PTO? Obviously we want to work with her on things, but we don’t want to feel as though we’re handing over our organization. We’re so lost on how to deal with this. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!


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