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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

T is for Teachers encompassing all staff.

You may be a member and even serve as an Executive Officer or Board of Director Member.

This question is usually asked when a PTA Leader also desires to help fill crucial substitute teacher vacancies.

A representative at the Alabama Department of Education said there is a difference between school employees and school board employees. The representative also said ALSDE Financial Guidelines are a framework for local school districts. Before assuming the dual role, check with the principal for guidance.

You can find the  ALSDE Financial Policy excerpt PTA focus here.

PTA has established guidelines for the proper use of the PTA name, logos, and tagline (everychild.onevoice). When used properly, PTA’s logo and tagline create a consistent message, help to unify all PTAs, and set PTA apart from the competition.

The success of our PTA brand identity system depends on all PTAs’ adherence to the established guidelines. The following guidelines are provided to establish a uniform, effective system for PTAs to use in order to maintain a consistent, visual style and brand identity for all PTA-produced materials. See here for information on PTA Branding.

This is probably a good place to remind you of Sunshine Funds guidelines.

A good way to collect gift cards to give to teachers is to ask for donated gift cards, or funds to purchase gift cards, specifically for giving to teachers with the donors consent.

Gift cards = cash. Even if a gift card is for a business primarily offering office type supplies, you still can't be sure the purchase was made for the classroom or the benefit of students. The only way to be sure PTA funds are being used for classroom support is to reimburse with receipts.


It's important to know how using gift cards to support your purpose may impact your 501(c)3 status with the IRS.

See Maintaining Non Profit Status.

You want to avoid:

  • any possible interpretation of gift card giving (considered non accountable) as inurement or private benefit.

  • impacting the teacher's reportable income

Note about gift cards given by parents to teachers as gifts.

Since 2016 Alabama Ethics Commission(AEC) has relaxed the previous $25 gift limit to public type professionals, such as teachers. The AEC continues to recommend small gifts.  Alabama Ethics Act Unofficial Revision.   Alabama Association of School Boards released a reminder found here.

Churches are a huge support system to our school system. 

They offer help in so many ways.

However, caution must be taken to avoid inadvertently endorsing an entity with promotional items (signs, banners etc) that may have a differing exempt purpose.


The following 2 items are in all PTA bylaws:  

  • The organization is organized exclusively for the charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future federal tax code (hereinafter referred to as “Internal Revenue Code”).

  • The organization shall be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan


With any sponsorship a disclaimer similar to the following should be used to avoid inappropriate endorsement of an organization or business.

Non-Commercial Policy

Name PTA does not endorse any commercial product or service. Companies making a financial contribution to PTA may be entitled to promotional consideration and, in some cases, may have limited use of PTA’s marks and assets.

Name PTA does not rent or sell personally identifying information about our individual members – including email addresses.

If you believe a company is misrepresenting its relationship with PTA or if you have general questions about PTA’s protocol for engaging with sponsors, please email contact

Being income tax exempt is not the same as being sales tax exempt.  Alabama PTA and it's local units are not automatically sales tax exempt in Alabama.  There is an important reason why Alabama PTA has never sought sales tax exemption.  As you are aware, public education in the State of Alabama is funded through sales tax revenues, so by seeking sales tax exemption, we would be taking funds from public education, which is not part of our mission. 

However, if you feel it would benefit your organization, you may apply to be sales tax exempt.

The application needs to be renewed annually. You will receive guidelines if you are approved for sales tax exemption that purchases may only be for fundraising items such as concession stand goods and spirit wear. You can find more information here.

The following two excerpts are from Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-12-20

  • CONTEST OF CHANCE. Any contest, game, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor therein.

  • GAMBLING. A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.

Example: Selling raffle tickets is prohibited. However you can give raffle tickets away free as an incentive such as joining PTA.

One officer, or member, should not enter a contract independently. The entire membership is responsible for the direction of the PTA with the Board of Directors managing business between membership meetings. If the contract pertains to something that falls into an approved budget category, such as spirit wear, at minimum, the Executive Committee should be offered an opportunity to provide input into this expense. Before signing a contract, make sure the discussion and approval is notated in meeting minutes.

Contracts should also not obligate future Board of Directors and Executive Committee members.

If you have a question you would like answered or one of the above answers seems incorrect,

please let me know. I try my best to find correct answers with supporting documentation, but there is a lot to being responsible for a non-profit. 

If you are like me, we are just trying to do the best we can in support of our students.

Deb Stern, President, HCPTA

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