Difference between school PTO and PTA

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - After two major thefts from school PTO funds in Johnson County, Kan., we asked who is following the money and what is the difference between a Parent-Teacher Association and a Parent Teacher Organization?

PTA chapters are part of the national organization that requires certain financial policies be followed. Policies include having two signatures on every check. Some districts, like the Shawnee Mission School District, require their PTAs to also carry insurance which covers theft.

PTO's are largely on their own. Some, like the Mahaffie Elementary PTO in Overland Park, Kan., follow similar strict guidelines for check cashing. They also make a detailed budget available at every monthly meeting.

On Wednesday, police confirmed someone stole more than $10,000 from the Westview Elementary PTO fund in Olathe. They took three years to do it.

Leawood mom Sandra Huddleston faces charges for stealing $30,000 from a Blue Valley elementary school.

If your school's organization is a registered non-profit with the IRS, you will be able to see their registration and often tax documents on Guidestar. Just go to www.Guidestar.org.

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