One issue a lot of parent groups struggle with is deciding what the PTO should pay for and what things should be the school's responsibility.

Some of the most difficult decisions involve educational technology. It's expensive, it requires maintenance, and it needs to work well with the other technology your school or district owns. Our new article, "PTOs and the School Technology Gap," looks in detail at what your PTO needs to consider before investing thousands of dollars in tablets, laptops, e-books, electronic whiteboards, and the like.

In general, I think what your group should pay for is up to your group. What's your philosophy? What are the goals of your group? Are there requests (like funding for teacher pay) that you feel should be clearly the responsibility of your school or district? Your spending should be in line with those answers.

One last thought -- it's my feeling that you can fund too much. If you're spending all of your money on "stuff" for your school, then you are going to run into long-term trouble. Your ability to help pay for those items depends on the engagement you build and the parent involvement and relationships your group can grow -- so make sure you invest time and dollars there, as well.