We’ve been told that we shouldn’t grant equipment or supplies directly to the school but instead to should make a grant of money to the school district for use to purchase the equipment or supplies. I looked in the bylaws and couldn’t find any such prohibition, but if this is true, how can we be sure that the school district will use the funds in the manner we intend them to be used.
There is no bylaw addressing this issue; rather what you have described is recommended best practice, based on several considerations. First, by selecting the equipment the PTA may retain some liability in the case that someone is injured using the equipment. Second there may be a question in the future as to whether the PTA is also responsible for maintaining the equipment. Third, the district may have legitimate reasons to want to make sure that the equipment meets its standards for compatibility, safety, etc. For these reasons, it is best practice to make a grant of funds to the school district, because the school is not a legal entity that is separate from the school district. To make sure the funds are going to be used as you want them to be used, you can make a restricted grant of funds that can only be used for the specific purposes set forth in the grant document. You can find a form that can be used to make a restricted grant in the Money Matters section of the Leadership Packet that your local unit received last fall. A copy of Money Matters is also available online under the Leadership Resources tab of the Washington State PTA website (user name and password are provided in your Leadership Packet.)