Fund-sharing Quick Guide for Elementary School PTAs/PTSAs

So, you want to donate money from your PTA to another organization? That’s great! Here are a few things you need to do to get started. First, get your legal ducks in a row by making sure that:

A. The transaction advances your non-profit’s charitable mission

Check your IRS form 1023 for your organization’s original registration. If your PTA specifies that you are a benefit to students at your school *only* you may need to adopt a change in mission to make donations and comply with nonprofit law. Contact Tatia Vasbinder, WSPTA Local PTA Support, at for help regarding the IRS or Secretary of State.

B. The donation has been approved by your membership in your budget

Your PTA is a grassroots, membership-driven organization, and spending decisions must be approved by your members, as the stakeholders and contributors your board serves.

Then, where should your money go? If you have a relationship or contact with another PTA/PTO/site council with whom you’ve discussed financial support, it’s as simple as your treasurer writing a check to the receiving school’s organization.

If your PTA wants to give but doesn’t know how, there are several options:

  • Get in touch with parent leaders at another school to inquire about support they would appreciate (contact District Legislative Chair Liza Rankin if you need help making a connection at, or get in touch with your regional director.)
  • Contribute to the SCPTSA Grants Fund by writing a check to SCPTSA and making a designation that funds are restricted to grants to local PTAs
  • Grant money to SPS with a designation for a certain school or purpose, after communicating with the recieving school, of course. For donations to a school without a formal parent organization, this is an option
  • Donate to an organization that supports SPS students, like a neighborhood food bank or arts organization
  • Look on Donors Choose for a local project to support. (This is also a good option if your individual membership wants to support other schools but not use your PTA budget – you can share and promote a fundraiser among your parent community for individual contributions.)

Examples of PTA-to-PTA donations over the past several years in SPS:

  • Wedgwood Elementary PTA has fundraised for camp fees for Dunlap and Madrona to offset costs for their fifth-graders attending camp, and collected donations for John Muir PTA and Leschi PTA’s social justice efforts by selling Black Lives Matter buttons
  • North Beach PTA donated $10,000 to Northgate Elementary to expand their library collection
  • Queen Anne PTSA made a school event into an equity event by collecting donations for Highland Park Elementary PTA’s playground improvement project
  • Montlake PTA has committed 5% of their 2018-2019 budget to Lowell PTA
  • Concord International PTSA has commited 6% of their budget to donate to other schools, and gave money to one of our newest PTAs for start-up expenses, Rainier View
  • Green Lake Elementary PTA has donated teacher classroom supply money to Dearborn Park International
  • Whittier Elementary PTA has donated to Bailey-Gatzert Elementary
  • Many PTAs have also supported each other by volunteering between schools, running toiletry drives for Family Support Workers at other schools, coat and food pantry drives, school supply contributions, and more!

The problem of under-funded schools isn’t unique to Seattle, or even Washington State. The equity issues this creates are only exacerbated by private dollars going to individual schools, and sharing money is a simple and effective way to support neighboring schools across the district. However, the inequities go far beyond for what parent fundraising can compensate. Our power as members of the SCPTSA is in our collective voice and advocacy, not our pocketbooks. PTA is present in over 80 schools in SPS, and by advocating together, we can hold the district and state accountable for closing gaps in opportunity and outcome, while we fill gaps between us as best we can. Thanks for all you do for *all* kids in Seattle Public Schools!

-Liza Rankin, SCPTSA District Legislative Chair
June 2018

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PTA Fundraising and ASB
FAQ on during the school day fundraising

Why the sudden change in policy of the new 10% fee for fundraising on school grounds by the district?

It not really a new policy, but more accurately a policy the district should have been following but was not. In a workshop sponsored by WASBO (Washington Association of School Business Officials) the district learned they were not in compliance with State laws around Associated Student Body (ASB) activities and funds (WAC 392-138-010, RCW 28A.325.020 and RCW 28A.325.030). The rules indicated the following activities turn a parent group fundraiser into an ASB activity:

  • A majority of the work is performed by the students,
  • The parent group uses the school name,
  • The use of district facilities is not followed per district policy, or
  • School district personnel are involved during staff time (during the school day).

According to these state laws, when a fundraising activities meets these requirements, then the ASB receives a portion of the proceeds. The procedures suggested a fee of up to 40%, but SCPTSA worked with the district to compromise at 10% or $1500 maximum. We were happy with this compromise, and we are happy that the 10% goes back to students at the school. It seemed more reasonable, and it was still within the letter of the State law.

What are ASB funds? What is ASB?

According to the State law definitions, ASB is “Associated Student Body organization” a formal organization of students, including subcomponents or affiliated student groups such as student clubs, which is formed with the approval, and operated subject to the control, of the board of directors of a school district in compliance with this chapter.

(2) “Associated student body program” means any activity which (a) is conducted in whole or part by or in behalf of an associated student body during or outside regular school hours and within or outside school grounds and facilities, and (b) is conducted with the approval, and at the direction or under the supervision, of the school district.

Each school has their own ASB account to use for student activities for that specific school. The principal manages this account in elementary schools, and students participate in the management of the ASB fund in secondary schools. There are very specific guidelines for how this money can be spent, but it must be used for students.

How does the PTA pay the portion of proceeds to the ASB fund? How will this policy be implemented?

So, if a PTA has a fundraiser on school grounds during school hours, the PTA must pay the school ASB fund 10%, up to $1500 (correction from the previous enews). If the fundraising event meets these conditions the principal must approve the activity and a contract is signed by both the principal and the school PTA. The template of this contract has been provided to all principals by the district.

At the end of a fundraising event, the school PTA writes a check to the school ASB fund. The principal then has the discretion to choose how to use those ASB funds (within State law). The district cannot use the money for whatever they want; the money in ASB funds is intended to stay at the school for the students.

Why had PTAs not heard about this ASB policy before?

The district sent this policy to ALL elementary school principals in April, and re-iterated it for us again yesterday. The district policy states:

To comply with state law, Seattle Public Schools developed new procedures for school-based fundraising. If fundraisers occur during the school day and involve students, we are required to ensure that students receive a portion of the proceeds. We worked with PTSA leadership during the past school year to create these procedures, which are aimed at making sure that our students retain a portion of the proceeds for events that they participate in. As a result, if a PTSA fundraiser is an activity that is co-sponsored with ASB, 10 percent – up to $1,500 – goes to the school’s ASB fund.

Here are the exact “rules” as laid out by the District (these rules were sent to Principals in April 2013):

PTSA Fundraiser

If the activity is carried out in accordance with all 3 items listed below, it is a PTSA event (not ASB or Co-sponsored) thus the PTSA retains all proceeds:

  • outside of regular school time (after school, evening or weekend)
  • the PTSA does the event planning, organizing, money-handling
  • the event is advertised as a PTSA fundraiser (i.e. Adams PTSA, Ballard Athletics Booster Club).

Co-Sponsored Fundraiser

If the activity (walking, reading, etc.) is carried out during school time, it is a co-sponsored event, and both PTSA and students (ASB) will share the proceeds according to a pre-approved agreement. School time includes lunch and recess periods. The percentage allocation may vary according to the distribution of services; at minimum, the ASB will be allocated 10% of the proceeds up to $1,500.

Are all PTA fundraising activities and events required to pay the 10% portion of proceeds to ASB funds?

No. Only fundraising activities during the school day that require the use of district staff (teachers, etc.) and requires student activity (such as running or walking for a Walk-A-Thon) are required to pay the ASB 10% ($1500 maximum). Auctions, direct donations (annual donation campaigns), and other PTA fundraising activities not meeting these ASB requirements are NOT subject to this allocation of proceeds.

We hope this clarifies the policy and gives some background as to how it came about. We apologize for any confusion this caused – and will do our best to keep you posted if anything changes! The district understands how important PTA fundraising is, and they are working with SCPTSA to ensure that we can continue this activity and follow the law. We are working together on this issue. Please contact if you have any more questions or concerns.

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