You're right, money from the PTA is rather atypical. However, I did work at one school in which the principal was given a "donation" every year from the parent booster club (maybe it wasn't actually the PTA) which could be used at his discretion - I think it may have been around $200. As you probably know, public institutions (from federal to local levels) are notorious for establishing budgets with questionable line items - obtuse, vague wording is a dead giveaway. Unbeknownst to many people who work in schools, is that many principals have discretionary funds available (not always part of the school budget) to use however they wish. Many years ago when I was studying to become a school administrator, I expressed my observation to the professor that their was no straightforward process for developing school budgets. I was flatly told that if I expected to learn an understandable, common sense approach to school finance, I should probably consider a different profession. I can only speculate on the reasons some administrators so willingly pay for food provided to teachers with their own money: a) hefty salaries, b) school culture/tradition (don't rock the boat), c) belief that doing so will earn loyalty and cooperation from teachers, d) erroneously think they can write off the entire amount on their taxes, e) hefty salaries, f) love their staff What are your thoughts?