Usually, the phrase is used to shut down debate on what may be a very good idea. Training for new officers? Volunteer appreciation? A professional DJ for the big school dance (instead of the volunteer dad with his iPod and speakers)? All of these things get shot down with "We can't spend our dollars on that because it's the kids' money."

The implication is that PTO or PTA dollars can only be spent on items tangible to the students (a field trip, a whiteboard, classroom supplies, a playground), and that is short-sighted thinking.

Your dollars should be spent (wisely and with the long term in mind) on things that will help you reach your goals. If your goals are to increase involvement and make your school a great community, then officer training, involvement tools, volunteer appreciation, and even that DJ who costs a bit more all can be terrific investments.

You should definitely be careful stewards of your group's funds. But the best groups understand that investing in your group in ways the kids can't touch -- making your leaders better, making your events better, making your whole school a great place for families and volunteers and teachers and kids -- is the best way to make sure your group's dollars benefit the kids in the long run.

Agree or disagree? I'd love to continue this discussion/debate over on the message boards.