Elementary School Carnival Ideas

Thursday, February 3, 2011

School Hints: Create a System of "Checks and Balances" for PTO / PTA

Schools need systems and in particular, systems of "checks and balances".  A system of "checks and balances" means that no one person is in charge to the exclusion of others.

If you run a school PTO or PTA or other parent group, you need to have systems in place.  Systems will protect the reputation of the group and the school and prevent problems and issues in their tracks.  I'll explain exactly how in just a minute.

If you are a principal or school administrator, taking the time to ensure that groups within your school have systems in place will help you and your reputation, not to mention keeping the school safer.  I'll explain...

By way of ridiculous example, let's say you have a cookie.  That cookie is supposed to be eaten by you and you are looking forward to it.  You leave it unattended and when you return, it's gone. You are sad.

Now, let's say you have a cookie.  You tell everyone that you will be eating that cookie after your lunch.  You return to find the cookie is still eaten.  Apparently, someone walked in afterwards that did not know and yeah... they ate it.

Finally, let's say you have a cookie.  You ask another person to hold on to your cookie for you instructing them not to let anyone else eat your cookie.  You confirm that they are not going anywhere or leaving it unattended.

Happily, when you return, the cookie has not been eaten.  Yum!

Now, I've just told the lamest story ever. And, if I were you reading this, I'd be just about to get really mad at the crazy author.  But, alas!  I've run into perhaps a lamer story and this one is real. 

Police: Teacher stole money from dances, school fundraiser

According to this article and, of course, this is alledged, this teacher had control of product, pricing, inventory, cash, cash drawers and making payments - all without any accounting or double-checks.  It most likely seems rediculous looking back at it now but the school was not operating responsibly.  There just was no system, no 'checks and balances', no accountability.  In the end, there was theft.

Here are a few helpful hints:

If you are throwing an event, two main organizers would be helpful.  They can control issuing cash drawers and tallying drawers.  Other jobs could be spread amongst other teams with systems in place to insure proper product ordering, inventories and accounting. If multiple people are funneling information into one place, risk is minimized.

• Make payments to vendors via check after invoice
• Count out cash drawers ahead of time
• Use multiple-person teams to create accountability
• Inventories checked before and after every event
• Have a policy on money handling and holding
• No students responsible for cash
• Deposit funds immediately into bank

I'm sure there are a number of improvements that can be made to just about any event to improve safety and security.  I'm not really getting into everything here, it's just a few things that I came up with after reading the article.  In the end, here is the simplest grading system you can place on your events:

No communication -FAIL
Tell everyone personally what is going on - FAIL
Have two-person teams following specific rules - PASS!


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