This is one of the first posts on this blog and an edited repost seemed appropriate since school starts back for kids in our area this week. 

Parents of kids who have been in school — would you rather deal with the IRS or with the PTO?


You probably had to take a second to think about that. Answering questions related to purchases made years ago, deductions made, and other boring nonsense sounds pretty bad. But then you realize that you’re not comparing the IRS to car shopping or signing a million pages in a house closing — you’re comparing it to the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). At best, that realization gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach. At worst, you might be having some flashbacks and screaming, “No, God, no!” in your head.

The PTO is kind of life the mafia, but without the threat of violence. They’re constantly trying to shake you down for money, do favors for their top earners, and are masters at extortion. If your family doesn’t pay the protection membership fee, then watch out.

“Get out there with 50 packs of overpriced M&Ms and don’t come back until they’re gone.”

“Little Peter can only sell 10 tins of popcorn? Get his butt back out in front of the Walmart ’til they’re gone.”

“Each child was supposed to raise $300 for this fundraiser. Your child raised $298.12. You think that’s acceptable?! Hit. The. Streets. Find that money or else!”

Or something like that.

Some people like to believe that making kids stand on the corner or go house to house peddling whatever the item of the month is teaches them how to succeed in life. They’ll be great businessmen or women, become entrepreneurs, learn something about persistence. It also prepares them for a future in drug dealing, but making such a comment is a surefire way to get a dirty look or two cast in your direction.

Here’s a little visual comparison of the two organizations. I think we can all agree that the PTO is the worst (assuming you are honest on your taxes, anyway).

(You can zoom in to read the smallish handwriting. Laziness prevented me from redoing it.)

What would you add to the list of crappy things about the PTO?

I should mention that this isn’t representative of the PTO at Little Man’s current school…I plead the fifth on other experiences.

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Author: Erika

I’m a SAHM to two kids. When I’m not doing all the typical mom things (diapers, soccer, etc.), I like writing, reading, and playing games. Clearly I live the life of a rock star.

23 thoughts on “IRS vs. PTO”

  1. The PTO I delt with was more like a pesky neighbor than a mafia. Always making their presence known. There were tons of fundraisers, too, though no one was excluded. Participation in selling said overpriced items was optional. There were rewards through the fundraising sponser for kids who sold a certain number of things. There is no PTO (That I know of) here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I like the pesky neighbor comparison more, but it’s not quite as dramatic 😉

      I don’t mind the small rewards that aren’t really a big deal, but at his old school, they’d have a huge party and half the class would be excluded. (Or that’s how it was that year, anyway.) That just isn’t fair to so many kids — most of whom are from lower-income families and have siblings, making it even tougher to hit a certain dollar amount. /endrant


  2. The PTO at Kat’s local public school was the worst– think of the movie mean girls….yeah, it was bad. They wanted the kids to raise money for them but didn’t want any actual involvement from parents unless you were invited….

    The PTO at her school last year was great. I ended up joining. We did things for the students, asked local businesses to donate things, and we put on fundraisers like date night (kids were dropped off to watch a movie and play while parents went out. 3 hours for $5), bake sales, etc. We used our funds to pay for kids to go on field trips, to have special lunches brought in, to buy prizes for reading month, etc. I loved that PTO because they didn’t ask parents to sell things, or pay fees or anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First, let me say that I am a past PTA (we used Association not Organization in those days) president. I always tried to make every parent welcome. Still, it was hard to get parents involved. Always the same ones every year, which makes people think it is a clique. We did things like Holiday Boutiques where the kids could do Christmas shopping for their family and friends and yes, there was the wrapping paper, but the kids were told they didn’t have to go door to door. The money we collected went to the field trips and to a computer lab for the school. With my youngest (which was about 5 years later), I was secretary for a year but then got burned out. One of the things we discussed at that time was just to have a flier sent out at the beginning and middle of the year asking for donations from the parents. No wrapping paper, no candy, just a flat donation. That seemed the easiest. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore! Good luck to those of you who do 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A flat donation, I love it! I always wondered what percentage of things like wrapping paper actually went to the school, if paying $100 or whatever would be more than the school would benefit from other sales, without all the hassle. Luckily at LM’s current school, their fundraisers are pretty awesome. Anything that has to be sold is usually doughnuts or a discount card to a department store everyone shops at, so it’s win-win, no useless junk.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t have kids but I do remember my experience. Wrapping paper. Coupon cards. Begging my dad to try to sell stuff at work for me, which never actually happened. But oh man the pressure is crazy! The school has this tantalizing presentation to the kids of all the cool prizes they can win for the amount of money they bring in, which of course could easily be bought on your own for a fraction of the cost. Sigh. Oh schools.

    Date night fundraiser sounds awesome! But are they expecting teachers to do the babysitting? Because that’s not cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny because LM would come home excited about some of the prizes and you could find them at the dollar store. I know there was some cool stuff, but it cracked me up that what he was excited about we could get for cheap and no hassle.


  5. First of all, five more years of this chit.
    Okay, I did the PTO and room mom and cookie mom thing when my older kids were small. It was awful. The PTO people are worse than I can describe kindly. The only thing worse than PTO people are Boy Scout people. Then I moved into tutoring, cause kids are better than adults. Then we moved to Georgia, and my kids were all in different schools, so I did zill at schools and volunteered with the Army spousal groups and Red Cross and still Girl Scouts. All better than PTO, okay?!?
    Then I moved here and volunteered non-school, community work.
    For the last errr, 18 months, I have volunteered nowhere, as I have been saving my strength. LOL
    Now, my baby ones are in orchestra and instead of PTO, I must do performing arts magic. This is a whole thing, which I cannot explain too well, except to say it’s mandatory for all performing art parents, and I have been assigned 4 dates of service already and I need to sell mums like whoa and who knows what else. BUT! I do know what it does. It allows kids without means to play instruments, act, sing, and dance, and I’m okay with that.
    The PTO dates came to my inbox today and to that I say LOL LOL LOL LOLOLOL OH LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell me how you really feel about the PTO 😀 And you have to do PTO bullshit outside of elementary school?! Gah. I’ve avoided being a class mom and pretty much everything except for a team mom at soccer. Bare minimum, so they have no expectations of me. I love that y’all raise money for kids who wouldn’t be able to afford instruments otherwise. ❤


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