Frequently Asked Questions

About the PTA and Fundraising for the Butler PTA

Who funds the PTA? Does the district fund the PTA?
The PTA is a non-profit organization, funded by donations, mostly from Butler families. The PTA is a 501(c)(3) in good standing. It receives no funds from the school district.
Is anyone on the PTA paid?
No, everyone on the PTA is a volunteer.
What are the administrative costs of the PTA?
We pay dues to the Mass PTA and the National PTA, insurance for our events and BASEP, professional tax preparation, accounting software, childcare for all PTA meetings. These costs are less than 10% of our budget.
Why would we pay more when we already pay taxes? 
Like local PTAs all over the country, the Butler PTA helps broaden the education provided by the public schools. Belmont is known as the “Town of Homes.” Our tax base is almost entirely from residential property taxes, with very few commercial or industrial taxes. The Belmont schools do very well with a relatively low per-pupil spending (In 2017 it was $12,142 compared to the $15,350 state average, with many of our neighbors much higher.) We also have had several consecutive years of increasing school-age population, which challenges the budget.
Where does the money go?
The PTA uses funds to bring in speakers and programs for presentations, assemblies, field trips, teacher supplies, teacher appreciation, community-building and educational events, hundreds of library and classroom books, and some larger purchases, like Chromebooks for third and fourth grades.
What is the breakdown per student/per grade that the PTA funds?
The PTA spends approximately $120 per student, per academic year. Each grade receives funding based on the number of students in the grade.
Who decides how to spend the money?
Teachers work with PTA volunteers to set up the enrichment activities. We have a dedicated volunteer board (voted in annually by members) that meets every other month, and we approve a budget each year. Our principal and teacher representatives also meet. Anyone can attend our meetings. Bylaws and meeting minutes are posted on the website. We have annual audits and a professional accountant to file our taxes and provide consistent oversight since our volunteer board changes yearly.
What does membership mean? I don’t have time to volunteer!
You become a member simply by supporting our PTA with a financial contribution of any amount. We need many volunteers throughout the year, but joining the PTA does not require volunteering. That is one reason some schools use the term “Annual Appeal” instead of “Membership Drive.”
I cannot donate at this time, but I would like to volunteer.
Look for the multiple volunteering opportunities in the Butler Family Newsletter and on the Facebook page (Daniel Butler PTA). You can also email our president, at
What is the FBE, and what do they do? 
The Foundation for Belmont Education is a town-wide organization which raises funds for all Belmont Public Schools and then awards grants to teachers who apply. Butler teachers have been awarded these grants in the past. FBE sponsors several town-wide events like the Dan Scharfman Run, the Spelling Bee, and the Spring Gala. They also organize “Star Teacher” awards, which is a very nice way to help the school while recognizing a special teacher.
Why do we have two big fundraisers (the Membership Drive and the Fun Run) so close together? 
We realize this is not ideal, but we submit our membership and pay dues  to Mass PTA and National PTA by November 1. The Fun Run is weather-dependent. We cannot have it too late in the fall. Some families consider the membership drive their personal contribution and the Fun Run as a time for extended family and friends to contribute.
Could we just do one of them? 
We value each one for different reasons. 1) The membership drive, or “annual appeal” is a very straightforward and important way for families to engage with the PTA. It is a model that continues at the Chenery Middle School and Belmont High School. It is also the model at Winn Brook and Burbank. 2) The Fun Run is a healthy, community event which also allows families to reach out to friends and extended family and the PTA to local businesses. 
Note: If 100% of families donated $120 per child, we could meet our budget with just the annual appeal. We currently have about 30% participation in our membership drive.
How has the Book Fair fit in? And what about those Scholastic flyers?
The Book Fair has been used exclusively to support the Butler Library and the individual teachers’ classroom libraries. In fact, all library orders have been funded by the earnings of the book fair. The Scholastic flyers are managed separately by each teacher and also earn books for the classroom teachers. In 2018, we added the online book wishlists through Belmont Books and a social event at the store. The Spring 2019 Bookstore event earned us 20% of all sales ($750) and almost 2K in books for teachers.
Why do we sometimes ask for extra contributions ($5-$15) for field trips?
The bus transportation costs $10-18 per student, depending on distance. If we cannot cover the whole trip plus an admission, parents are asked to pitch in to keep spending per child about equal. No one is ever turned away if they cannot contribute at a given time. In addition to field trips, we also ask fourth grade parents to contribute to the Moving On Celebration, which is organized by and funded by the PTA, along with parent contributions.
What are the other sources of income?
Butler t-shirts and gear, snack, pizza, and bake sales at events, raffles, Box Tops, Moozy’s Days, Amazon Smiles, school portraits, matching funds, etc. We do not charge admission to events. We have at times considered a donation jar at events, but to be most welcoming, we have maintained a simple “Free to All” policy.
Who has given us grants?
We have received grants from Belmont Cultural Council, the Big Yellow School Bus fund, and Target. If you have suggestions for grant funding, please email!
How can I express my opinions if I am not on the board?
Our president is listening at Send an email. Speak to someone on the board. You can also come to any meetings, which are held almost every month (check the  PTA Calendar).
How has the Butler After School Enrichment Program (BASEP) fit in? Does the PTA make money from it? What is the future of BASEP?
Our dynamic BASEP program has been run by volunteers. The instructors were paid. That means no profit for the PTA, but there was some budget for financial scholarships. Due to lack of parent volunteers and many other after school opportunities offered to students, BASEP will not operate during 2019-2020.