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Who is being unreasonable (if anyone)

(89 Posts)
PTAnightmare20 Tue 14-Jan-20 21:50:09

Both PTA members are governors, chair of PTA is also chair of Govs.

In short, a member of the PTA was asked for emergency funds by the school to support a family in crisis, committee member expressed that she didn't know if the funds could be used that way but an emergency meeting would need called ASAP as it needs a full committee to agree before it could happen. School stated they thought they might have other options and would get back to committee member. Committee member told another committee member (the other person in this scenario) who texted and emailed everyone to discuss.

In the meantime school contacted chair and explained the situation in more detail owing to the chairs others responsibilities, explained they wanted £500 to purchase things which needed to be bought in the next hour. Chair felt this was a lot of money and instead went shopping for the items herself with the PTA card which is in their name as chair of the committee. Items came to under £400.

Chair took items into school and saw the other committee member and explained what they had done. Committee member was not happy, said they had no right to touch funds without prior committee approval. chair expressed that card was in their name and they couldn't see a family in such crisis with money sitting there and they had donated items to the raffle which amounted to a few hundred pounds so if they felt so strongly then just think they did it themselves. Committee member feels it was very wrong to take the funds without seeking committee approval in any circumstances and also feels that the request isn't what the constitution and association was set up to do.

There has been fallout from it, but without trying to make it too long, that's the situation.

Who is right? Is chair right because no family should be felt with nothing, there was money there, they are chair after all and have funded things for the PTA.

Or

Is committee member right that the chair had no right to touch funds without prior committee approval and it doesn't matter what the funds are for.

We are aware some PTAs do have funds set aside for emergencies that can be sought quickly and while this wasn't in place at the time it is likely that it will be put in the place in the future.

Stompythedinosaur Tue 14-Jan-20 21:53:00

Obviously the chair can't decide on their own what to spend a large quantity of money is used for. If the PTA is registered as a charity then funds need to be used for the purpose they are given for.

Atalune Tue 14-Jan-20 21:55:06

Chair is horrendously in the wrong and I think the charity commission would have something to say about it.

There are other hardship/school funds for this type of thing. The PTA has no place in this scenario.

Sportycustard Tue 14-Jan-20 22:36:47

I am a charity Trustee, former Chair of Governors and and also work for a UK based global charity in a board level role.

There should be some sort of governing document that sets out what the PTA raises funds for. It may not be a registered charity (not all are) but in the absence of something laid down it is fair to assume that BibbidyBobbidy PTA raises money for BibbidyBobbidy Primary School and so that is what funds should be used for. If in doubt ask what people who donate think they are donating for.

There also should be (and if there isn't there needs to be one drawn up PDQ) a document that sets out who can spend money, what limits are appropriate and whether two signatures are needed. This is often referred to as a scheme of delegation. Samples will be available online.

It certainly sounds like the Chair is very out of line. If the PTA is a charity and activities are limited to supporting the school then this could be really quite serious.

user1473878824 Tue 14-Jan-20 22:38:13

Chair is completely BU

MT2017 Tue 14-Jan-20 22:39:52

Chair completely wrong. Heart ruling head and all that...

Plus if Chair felt so strongly they should have ok'd the money to the school as they will have pissed them off too.

We3kingsoforientareandabump Tue 14-Jan-20 22:40:49

Chair is in the wrong

Jupiters Tue 14-Jan-20 22:41:45

Is committee member right that the chair had no right to touch funds without prior committee approval and it doesn't matter what the funds are for
The chair is being hugely unreasonable!

Mrsmadevans Tue 14-Jan-20 22:44:20

School is in the wrong. they put chair under great duress.

Thehogfatherstolemycurry Tue 14-Jan-20 22:47:57

Chair is very wrong, the money was not theirs to spend however they thought fit. It in likelihood was raised for the good of the whole school, in giving this amount to one family they have reduced the amount benefiting every other child in the school.

HeresMe Tue 14-Jan-20 22:52:25

The chair was was in the wrong, money can't be given out to anyone.

I'm not sure it's the job of the school/PTA to help family's in crisis, what was the crisis?

Ikeameatballs Tue 14-Jan-20 22:58:33

Chair is wrong but school were wrong to put the chair in that position. I’d question how that came about and what other agencies were considered for the funds.

Gazelda Tue 14-Jan-20 22:59:30

Is the PTA a registered charity?

Does all expenditure require 2 signatories?

Does the Constitution allow for purchases of this sort (or crisis payments for individual families)?

What was so urgent they the money was needed in 1 hour? Was it for furnishings or food or uniform or ......?

I'm struggling to think of any scenario which vindicates the Chair.

TokyoSushi Tue 14-Jan-20 23:05:04

Chair is wrong but school also wrong to pressure Chair.

ichifanny Tue 14-Jan-20 23:09:28

Why on earth is the PTA being used to fund families in crisis ? It’s isn’t set up for that purpose and there are other more appropriate agencies to help surely ?

PTAnightmare20 Tue 14-Jan-20 23:18:03

H, I'm obviously th committee member.

We aren't registered as a charity although we should be, we took over from previous PTA and had no documents and it was only on Oct we had a full year accounts. We have been waiting on people auditing account but there is so much conflict within the group it's always being put on the back burner. I know that's wrong. I do raise it every meeting and assignments are made but it's not making satisfactory progress.

We have a constitution though and money is for the benefit of all children to enhance educational experiences do in my opinion it cannot be used for one family.

In addition I had a rush assessment drawn up which we all accepted and one point was that anything over £40 needs committee approval.

Since the incident chair has been very difficult. She even turned up at my door shouting (which I actually have videoed as I have a ring doorbell). She has been telling staff things about me and that I'm being mean. She is overruling people on the committee and approving funding requests which had been talked about but not finalised, for example teacher requested money for class thing, we loved the idea, she said she thought it would be around 120-150 which seemed reasonable but was going to contact company for quote and availability, turns up chair approved and cost is 270 which we would have likely said no to it asked for it to Cover more classes etc.

I feel school did put pressure on chair, but chair is chair of govs too and can stand her own if needed.

I'm just not sure what to do moving forward, she is continuing to act like nothing happened and refusing to listen, she is being more aggressive in her "i am chair" mentality, school are backing her obviously as she approves their pay raises even though privately they said the right things. If I say more measures need put in place I'm told I am being silly and things are fine.

Josette77 Tue 14-Jan-20 23:18:11

This is all kinds of wrong.

pooboobsleeprepeat Tue 14-Jan-20 23:23:08

The Tory government!

BodenGate Tue 14-Jan-20 23:23:25

The school should never have asked as PTA funds are for the school and for the benefit of all children. Surely this sets a precedent? I would resign in your shoes.

PTAnightmare20 Tue 14-Jan-20 23:24:08

I'm not even sure what was funded. The money was spent but no idea on what. I know who the family are (not via the school) because it's a small community and the family are in conflict with each other so regularly post each other's business and messages all over Facebook. Basically couple split and kids spend time between homes, one home doesn't have "anything" apparently although Facebook photos would suggest otherwise. But, I'm not against helping and I had contacted a friend who owned a charity and paid him a contribution for the needed items but then we find money was spent and on different items to what the original committee member was told. I was told beds but no beds were bought and when I said I had beds ready the school suddenly did not need them. It's all confusing. Like school wanted the money but did they want cash or cheque and how would that have worked? It's all a bit odd from my perspective.

Kiwiorange Tue 14-Jan-20 23:24:19

Am I having a dejavu or had this thread been up before?

Genuine question. When I was reading it, it felt very familiar? Unless I’m going mad

isabellerossignol Tue 14-Jan-20 23:24:37

Chair is wrong in every way, and to protect yourself you really should step down as a committee member. (I've been in a similar position and that's what I ended up doing.) By continuing on the committee with a Chair who is doing their own thing you sort of end up complicit in it, even though you are objecting, if you know what I mean.

PTAnightmare20 Tue 14-Jan-20 23:25:08

Not posted before, but I did ask on a governor Facebook forum anonymously.

PTAnightmare20 Tue 14-Jan-20 23:29:30

I'm also a governor which puts me in a difficult position with her being chair of govs too. Especially with these concerns about her.

I had planned to step down but all insurance etc in my name so requested we meet to pass things over but things have continued to escalate with chairs behaviour and us picking us pieces. Obviously with Christmas too things went on standstill.

I think stepping down is the best thing but I'm not sure if things need recorded somehow, school (before I was a governor but not her) had significant Freud issues, like major issues, argh. It's such a mess! I just wish chair would realise the issue and let us tighten things up rather than continue to escalate things.

alwayscoffee Tue 14-Jan-20 23:31:44

This is very wrong. Who runs the school - the county council or is it an Academy? I would be making contact with the relevant body to report a governance breach. It sounds like the chair of governors/PTA does not understand their role.

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