Glossary

This section defines or explains terms that financial officers and chairmen may encounter in their PTA work.

  • Approval by Membership – The requirement that all expenditures, programs and projects, including those specified in the budget, must obtain approval and/or ratification by the membership. All approval of expenditures, programs and projects MUST be recorded in the minutes.
  • Authorization for Payment – An authorization for payment documents approval to pay bills for services or supplies, or reimbursement to a member for expenses. After approval by the association, the completed authorization for payment permits the treasurer to write checks. All bills, receipts and invoices should be attached to approved authorization.
  • Bylaws – Specific rules of operation for the orderly conduct of business adopted by vote of the members. All PTA bylaws have certain specified, starred sections in common which cannot be changed. Any change in bylaws requires approval of the state parliamentarian, a 30-day prior notice and a two-thirds vote of the membership.
  • Cash Verification Form – A form to document receipt of coins, currency and checks from membership, fundraisers, and donations, which protects and safeguards volunteers’ handling of PTA funds.
  • Carry-over Funds – These funds represent the amount which is set aside to begin operations at the beginning of the next PTA fiscal year, prior to the onset of fundraising activities.
  • Certificate of Insurance – A document issued by the insurance broker certifying that an insurance policy covering general liability is in force. A Certificate of Insurance is included in the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide mailed to all unit, council, and district PTAs in good standing. A copy may be obtained by contacting the California State PTA insurance broker.
  • Channels – The formal communication route through the association to ensure that each level within the association is informed. In PTA, the channel is from the unit to the council (if in council) or from the unit to the district PTA (when there is no council), from the council to the district PTA, and from the district PTA to California State PTA.
  • Commingled Funds – Funds from two organizations deposited together. Because a unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association, it must comply with all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements, regulations and laws. The IRS considers all funds in PTA accounts to belong to the association regardless of source. A PTA must handle only those funds over which it has full control and the total amount must be declared as gross income to the PTA. All funds in the PTA account must have association approval for disbursement.
  • Contract – A legally enforceable agreement between two or more persons or organizations. Contracts must be approved by the PTA membership before being signed by two elected officers, one of whom must be the president.
  • Contributions – Donations of money, property, or services received by the PTA from individuals or businesses. PTAs must follow Internal Revenue Service guidelines for receipts for contributions.
  • Embezzlement – Stealing of money entrusted into one’s care by means of fraud for one’s own use.
  • Facilities Use Permit – A permit required by most school districts that when approved authorizes the PTA to use school site facilities.
  • Fiscal Year – The financial accounting period established by the PTA, and identified in the Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article XIV, Section 1, as a time for the association to close its financial books and records for the past 12-month period. The IRS is notified of the fiscal year at the time of organization when IRS Form SS-4 is submitted.
  • Founders Day Freewill Offering – A freewill offering commemorating the founders of PTA. Contributions are forwarded through channels to California State PTA and set aside in a special fund for leadership services. The contributions are considered as “funds not belonging to the unit, council, or district” and are not included as income in the budget.
  • Gifts to Individuals – A personal gift to a PTA member or school staff. Gifts to individuals cannot be paid for with PTA funds. Personal gifts include gift cards, gifts for baby showers, secretary’s day, bereavements, weddings, or birthdays. If the unit wishes to recognize an individual, donations must be collected as freewill offerings and the money maintained separately from PTA funds.
  • Gifts to Schools – Gifts to the school that benefit the largest number of students possible. Be sure to check with the school district before purchasing any materials for the school. Gifts should be in the form of a donation, presented and accepted by the school board at a school board meeting, and recorded in the school board minutes. Always use a fiduciary agreement.
  • Good Standing – The term applies to units, councils and districts that have met all requirements specified in the bylaws, which includes remittance of insurance premiums and membership per capita to California State PTA by the established due dates.
  • Grants – A specific set of dollars given by businesses, foundations, and corporations to an organization to perform specific functions. Projects for which PTA is seeking grants must promote the Purposes of the PTA and be relevant to the goals of PTA.
  • Gross Receipts – The total amount of receipts before any deductions are taken or expenses are paid. For the purpose of completing the IRS Form 990, monies forwarded through channels to the California State PTA office are not considered gross receipts. This includes membership per capita, Founders Day freewill offerings, and insurance premiums.
  • Hold Harmless Agreement – An agreement in which the signing party assumes responsibility for all acts and all liability for any injuries that occur related to an event. PTA MUST NOT SIGN A HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT. California State PTA insurance does not cover vendors, concessionaires, or service providers; these entities must provide Evidence of Insurance to each PTA unless annual Evidence of Insurance has been filed with the California State PTA Insurance Broker. A Hold Harmless Agreement may be found in the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide.
  • Membership Per Capita – The amount of money that must be forwarded through channels for each membership received in the unit in order to be considered a unit in good standing by California State PTA.
  • Minutes – The permanent legal record of all action taken by the association and the executive board. All financial reports become a part of the minutes.
  • Noncommercial Policy – A policy requiring that the name PTA, a registered service mark, or the names of PTA officers shall not be used in conjunction with the commercial activities of other organizations including, but not limited to, the promotion of their goods and services.
  • Ratification – The approval by the membership of an action taken by the PTA executive board as specified in Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units, Article VIII, Section 2c.
  • Reconciliation of Funds – The process of bringing into agreement the bank balance as shown on the bank statement, the checkbook ledger, and the check register. The purpose is to ensure that the bank records and the association’s financial records are correct, to identify outstanding checks, and to determine the actual balance against which future checks may be drawn.
  • Reimbursement of Expenses – Allowable out-of-pocket officers’ expenses shown as a line item on the budget adopted by the association are reimbursable. Reimbursement is made upon the submission of an expense statement and/or receipts.
  • Sales Tax – A tax imposed on the purchase of products. Units are considered consumers by the California State Board of Equalization and they are not required to charge sales tax on merchandise sold. Units do pay sales tax on the price of merchandise purchased for resale or use.
  • Scrip – A coupon which may be redeemed in lieu of using cash at the store that issued the scrip. Scrip is purchased, usually from grocery stores, in large amounts for a discount off the face value. The PTA sells the scrip at the full value, raising funds for the unit. Many companies now offer electronic e-scrip.
  • Scholarships – Funds to assist students in furthering their educational objectives. The scholarship program, including the amount and number of scholarships to be awarded, must be approved by the membership.
  • Sponsorship – Financial support received from a business. The law permits a PTA to receive corporate sponsorship income tax free, if the sponsorship is linked to a specific event and the event is held once per year. The PTA gives the corporate sponsor an acknowledgment of thanks in return for the sponsorship.
  • Unallocated Reserve Funds – The amount remaining after making allocations for budgeted programs and activities, and may be used to cover any unexpected or unplanned expenses in the current fiscal year. The association must adopt a budget amendment to transfer funds from Unallocated Reserves to a specific budget category prior to disbursing funds.

 

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