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When is a new PTO "official"?

11 years 8 months ago #147436 by FESPTO
We have our first PTO meeting tomorrow, but this past-Fall we worked on a fundraiser that was not an official PTO fundraiser since, as of yet, we are not an official PTO. However, the principal had told me we would have access to some of the funds raised to use for start up costs. Now that we are ready to move forward and need money to pay for the 501(c)(3) filing (and other nominal fees) we are being told we do not have access to any funds previously raised.

I am afraid we may have to ask our school families to donate $ to help cover start up costs, which concerns me in this tough economy (and we are a poor school district anyways). Our school district does not recognize a PTO as a 'viable entity' further complicating our petition for funds.

So, when are we an "official" PTO? We have another fundraiser coming up in March, and I thought we could plan to use some of the proceeds from that towards our start-up expenses...but I worry we'll run into the same issue again.

It seems like a vicious cycle. The purpose of our PTO is to help raise more money for the school & plan the use of that money, but we need money to form the PTO. The school won't allow us to use any money we've already raised, so how do we overcome this without asking families to give money?
11 years 8 months ago #147438 by CrewChief
Most likely, the money is already spent, causing it to be unavailable to you. It would have been nice if the funds had been set aside for this purpose but they weren't.

Some parent groups never file for 501(c)(3) status and simply operate as a service group of the school, using the schools tax exempt status. However, that makes the group wholly beholden to the administration. Based on the little bit you've shared, it sounds like your group needs it's independence.

Regarding the earlier fundraiser - what was the advertised purpose of the fundraiser? If the school spent the funds within those guidelines, I guess they had the right to do that, although it was cheesy to go back on their word to the parent group!

I think it would be a great idea to hold a fundraiser for the necessary start up funds. Perhaps have a spaghetti supper, family night or some other PTO hosted event at which you can introduce yourselves to the families. A portion of the raised funds could be used for start up.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."

"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the true perfection of one's character."
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