PTSA or PTO Frequently Asked Questions
What activities are allowed on school campuses?
See the Activities Matrix for a list of athletic, extracurricular and curriculum-related activities. The matrix indicates at which grade levels, if any, an activity is permitted.
What activities are banned from school campuses?
See page 6 of the Activities Matrix for a list of banned activities.
Can food be sold on district property?
Yes. We understand the importance of fundraising.Concession and sales of food on district property by groups such as PTAs, PTOs and booster clubs is available on a limited basis.
All food sold at district sites must conform to the Public Health of Seattle, King County rules.
What are the rules for the use of concession stands?
The district asks that groups using the concession stands at the four athletic complexes obtain a building rental permit under the normal building rental process. This rental is separate from the rental of the field. There is a separate fee for use of the concession stands for non-district users.
The district concession stands do not meet the standards for food preparation requiring food service permits. Only foods NOT requiring a permit may be sold. Hot items, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, or other foods requiring on-site preparation require permitted facilities for preparation and sanitation. Concession stands do not meet these requirements.
Sale of foods that require food handling permits and permitted preparation facilities can be contracted through the SPS Nutrition Services Department.
For fields that do not have concession stands, concessions are limited to one permitted commercial canopy. The Application Form (page 4 of the link) must be signed and submitted with any permit request for concession activities.
What are the procedural requirements for different types of activity providers?
Requirements in the process for providing enrichment programs differ depending on the activity provider or instructor. For example, the primary insurance coverage for a volunteer instructor will be provided by the parent organization; whereas, insurance for an SPS instructor is provided by the Seattle School District. More information for the requirements for each category is available in the Activity Provider Requirements Matrix.
What procedural requirements are there for volunteers?
All volunteers at Seattle Public Schools must complete a Volunteer Application and undergo a background check. Visit the Volunteering at SPS page for more information.
Building Use, Rental Fees
What activities are eligible for rent-free use of school facilities?
Programs that support youth education are not required to pay rent for the use of facilities.
Examples of such enrichment programs are those that benefit students in academics, art, health and fitness, social skills, technical skills,college and life readiness skills, or other activities that increase student success in school and prepare students to succeed as adults.
Programs must be open to all students who apply on a first-come, first served basis, understanding that:
- students of varying skill levels maybe separated into different classes or activities appropriate to their skills; and
- tutoring and academic support programs may limit participants based on need.
Additionally, facility use by School Support Organizations is generally free from rent.
If you are not sure if your activity qualifies for rent-free use, see Policy No. 4260 - Use of School Facilities for a complete description.
What procedural requirements are there for rent-free use?
All short-term and hourly facility use, outside of school hours, requires a permit. School support organizations must:
- Reserve space through the district's online facilities scheduling tool;
- Submit a complete, principal-approved Request for Rental Fee Waiver; and,
- Have a current certificate of PTA insurance on file.
For more information about procedures for reserving facility space, see 4260SP - Use of School Facilities Procedure.
Who needs to complete the rental fee waiver form?
The PTA (or responsible organization) needs to complete the waiver request form for every reservation. Organizations may submit a single building rent waiver form for a related series of activities,rather than a separate form for each activity.
Why is the rental fee waiver form necessary?
Accountability. Building principals evaluate there quest and determine if the reservation supports youth education based on policy 4260 and procedure 4260 SP.
The waiver request form also provides a list of service providers in addition to the sponsoring organization. The district can then confirm that all service providers have an account in the FS direct scheduling system and current insurance information.
Why does the district use a paper rental fee waiver form when reservations are completely online?
The district does not currently have an online rental request process. A paper trail is necessary for accountability and auditing purposes.
Does the district have specific scholarship requirements in exchange for rent-free use by enrichment programs?
The Board encourages the development of scholarship plans for programs, in order to promote participation by students in need. But given that circumstances vary from school to school, there is no fixed policy requirement for providing scholarships.
However, rental fee waivers are offered with the expectation that facility use is for the support of youth education and that low income should not be a barrier to opportunities. Possible scholarship scenarios include offering the equivalent of one scholarship per 10 paid participants or reduced rate classes for all students, or developing other creative solutions that provide access to the most students possible throughout the year.
Are PTAs the only organizations that are granted rent-free use?
No. Rent-free use of facilities is determined by how the facilities will be used as opposed to the type of organization using the space. Activities that support youth education and fulfill certain other requirements may be granted rent-free use.
Building Use, Reserving Space
Which PTA events and activities require reservations?
All short-term and hourly facility use, outside of school hours, requires a permit and therefore a reservation.
How do I reserve space?
The district uses an online facility-scheduling tool called FS Direct. All indoor and outdoor facility users must create an online account in FS Direct and request space by using the SPS Community Use Link.
For more information about reserving space, see 4260SP - Use of School Facilities Procedure or the Hourly Building Rentals page.
Who on the PTA should have an account in the system?
This is at the discretion of your PTA. More than one person can create an account and be associated with your PTA in the system. The account associated with a particular reservation will receive email confirmations, updates,and correspondence regarding the reservation. The user/requester is also responsible for submitting the rental fee waiver request.
Who should reserve space for PTA-coordinated before- and after-school activities when the program includes outside vendors?
Online reservations for PTA-coordinated programs can be made by the PTA or by a school's "Building Scheduler" on behalf of the PTA.
How can we ensure our events and clubs are covered by insurance?
PTAs should ensure that their own insurance is in effect for all PTA-sponsored events and activities. AIM insurance has several requirements for PTA-sponsored events, including: the event must be voted on by the PTA Board, it must be approved by the PTA Board, anda PTA member must be present at the event. For more information, go to AIM's Knowledge Center, and its FAQs. An overview, including Q and As with an AIM representative, was prepared in spring 2013, with a focus on after-school programs. Find it on the Seattle Council PTSA website. The Washington State PTA is also a resource for questions about the liability of PTAs for various programs and events.
Official school and district-sponsored events are covered by district insurance. In addition, instructors paid via the school to teach in after-school programs are covered by district insurance.
Any outside vendors providing services for a PTA-sponsored or coordinated event must have their own insurance, as required by the school district. The vendor should submit a certificate of insurance coverage and any renewals to SPS Building Rentals. The district is responsible for verifying that facility users maintain current insurance coverage; verified insurance coverage will be reflected in the organization's account in the online reservation system.
If an uninsured instructor led a PTA-sponsored class, does that nullify the event as PTA sponsored altogether? Or does it only mean that the instructor is not protected?
It only means that the instructor is left vulnerable. If it's a PTA event, then PTA event coverage is in effect for the PTA and participants.
Are parties who are paid for their time (compensated) covered by AIM policies?
No. The AIM policy defines the insured parties, which include PTA volunteers. If a person is compensated, they fall outside the definition of a volunteer and are therefore not covered by the AIM policy. If the PTA pays a parent or a teacher to coordinate an activity,that person will not be covered by the AIM insurance policy.
Is insurance coverage affected for PTA members or volunteers who receive free or discounted tuition in exchange for volunteering?
Discounted/waived tuition, or gift awards that are not given in lieu of compensation for a specific event, do not jeopardize PTA insurance.
Note: Beyond insurance, PTA may have guidelines that limit or discourage forms of compensation to volunteers.
Where can I find insurance for one-time events?
For any groups requiring insurance that do not currently have the necessary required coverage, the Washington Cities Insurance Authority offers event insurance through a Tenant User Liability Insurance Program (TULIP).
The TULIP link is on the Building Rental section of the district website. TULIP insurance is not associated with Seattle Public Schools and this information is provided to users as a convenience.
How will the district verify vendor insurance information if we make all of our reservations through the PTA account?
The rental fee waiver request form includes a list of all activities and their providers/sponsors. All activity providers are required to have a account in the online system.
The district will use the list on the rental fee waiver request form to verify that each provider has a current certificate of insurance on file.