How does your PTO spend money?

There are four general allocation categories that best summarize how your PTO spends its money. 


All-School Allocation: This funding directly impacts all Burns Park students and is implemented during school hours.


Examples: generous classroom subsidies, reading room books, school t-shirts, school garden, walk and talk and fun field days.


Grade level Allocation: This funding directly impacts Burns Park students but is limited to a specific grade level.


Examples: generous field trips, teacher enrichment ideas (also known as Golden Apple grants), exciting assemblies and 5th grade capstone activities and ceremony.


Community Allocation: The funded item/event is open to all members of the school community. The ability to partake is dependent upon variables outside of the student’s control (i.e. transportation, time of day, etc). 


Examples: Science Olympiad, Special Interest Fair, Popsicles in the Park, Burns Park Run, Ice Cream Social and most parent requests (also known as Penguin Parent Grants). 


Scholarship Allocation: The funded item promotes equitability for the student experience. Our school community is reflective of Washtenaw County as a whole where 19.5% of children live in poverty.


Examples: Family-to-Family giving, entry and shirts for Burns Park Run, tickets for Ice Cream Social, chaperoning field trips, transportation to school events and meetings and any specific needs identified by teachers and staff (clothing, school supplies, etc).




Please tell me more about the Penguin Parent and Golden Apple Grants?


These grants were the brainchild of our past presidents, Jenn Monk-Reising and Jill Schloff. 


First and foremost, the grants are meant to encourage creativity, innovation, engagement and sustainability. Your PTO has committed $10,000 toward supporting your, and the BPE staff’s, new ideas and interests. The grants are evaluated through the same lens through which we evaluate all of our spending; the more accessible and inclusive the idea is to all students in our school community the better. 


In addition, when you have a volunteer-driven, high-turnover organization the ideas, and therefore funding needs, change frequently. By creating and putting money aside every year for grants we prevent certain line items from getting “stuck” on our budget. The grants also increase PTO flexibility and allow us to support a good idea when it arises - and while we have the people and excitement to support it - but not get stuck with a budget line item we are no longer interested in after the original supporters have moved on from Burns Park. 


Penguin Parent Grants are awarded by your PTO to parents who seek funding for enrichment activities for Burns Park students. We currently have $5,000 set aside in our budget for this type of grant.



Golden Apple Grants are awarded by your PTO to teachers & staff who seek funding for enrichment activities for Burns Park students. These grants are used to enhance or complement existing curriculum or introduce new or unique educational experiences. We currently have $5,000 set aside in our budget for this type of grant.  



Frequent questions asked by your PTO when deciding whether to approve grants and general spending: 


Is it in line with the PTO mission?

How many students will it reach?

What is the cost per student?

Is there a less costly way?

Is there a better alternative?

Is there anything we can think of to make the idea more inclusive?

More accessible?