By Laws


Article I: Name

The Name of this organization shall be Horseshoe Trails Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, also known as HTES PTO.

Article II: Purpose and Objectives

Section 1. This organization is exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future tax code.

The objectives of the HTES PTO are:

To bring into closer relationship the school and home, that parents and teachers may cooperate and participate in the education of students.

To unite parents, teachers, and the entire school community to work together to promote an enriched learning environment.

To organize fundraising activities for school equipment and materials for programs which fall outside the school’s budget.

To provide the volunteer support necessary to assist with programs in our student’s school day.

Article II: Basic Policies

The following are the basic policies of the HTES PTO:

This organization shall be non-commercial, non-sectarian, non-partisan.

This organization is a site-based committee and shall review all activities with the school steering committee.

This organization shall seek neither to direct the administrative activities of the school nor to control its policies.

Article III: Membership and Dues

Section 1: The membership of HTES PTO may consist of families, guardians, students, staff and community members interested in the welfare of students at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School without regard to race, color, creed or national origin, under such rules and regulations not in conflict with the provisions of these bylaws.


Section 2: The HTES PTO shall conduct an annual enrollment of members, but a person may be admitted any time during the school year when full dues payment are received, if applicable.


Section 3: The membership shall subscribe to these bylaws and pay the annual dues, if applicable, to the organization. Each family membership allows one vote per family.

Section 4: The PTO Executive Committee Officers shall determine the annual membership fee no later than the month of July for the upcoming year.

Section 5: The membership year shall begin with the publicized first day of school and end of the day before the publicized first day of the next school year. However, if a registration is held prior to the publicized first day of school, this day may be considered the beginning of the membership year.

Section 6: All members of the organization shall be eligible to participate and vote in the business meetings. Members must be present to cast their vote.

Section 7:  Any member of the PTO eligible to serve in an elective or appointive position.


Article IV: Eligibility to Serve as an Officer & Election of Officers

Eligibility to Serve as Officer

Section 1: The officers of this organization shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Teacher Liaison, website manager, Fundraising Chair, Garden Chair, Mini Museum Chair, Stallion Squad Chair, Member at Large and a Kinder Liaison (second half of the year). Co-officers may exist if interest in running as such is expressed, and both co-officers are voted in by the general assembly.  

Section 2: No member shall be eligible to hold more than one office at a time.

Section 3: To serve as an officer, one must be related to (or be the legal guardian of) a student currently enrolled at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School.


Election Procedure


The Executive Board will appoint a nominating committee composed of three (3) members no later than March. The committee shall elect among its members a chair. The nominating committee shall nominate an eligible person for each office to be filled and report its nominees at the General Meeting in April, at which time nomination may be made from the floor. Only those persons who signed their consent to serve if elected shall be nominated for or elected to office.

Officers shall be elected by general ballot at the General Meeting in May However, if there is but one nominee for any office, elections for that office may be by voice vote. If there is but one nominee for all offices to be filled, the nominees may be voted in as slate, by voice or ballot.

Officers shall begin their terms no later than July 1 and shall serve for a term of one year. Officers in the roles of; President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary or Member at Large shall not be eligible to serve more than two (2) consecutive years in the same office. If a vacancy should occur in an officer’s position during the school year, the remaining Executive Officers shall elect an alternate to complete the term of that position.

 Article V: Duties of Officers, Resignation & Removal


General Responsibilities of Officers

Each officer will be expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to the time and energy required to properly serve the PTO, including attendance at PTO meetings and Exec Board Meetings.

Each Officer will be expected to actively cooperate in the transition between the school years from one set of officers to the next.

All officers shall carry out their duties according to these bylaws and shall work cooperatively with school administration, staff, parents and members of the community. All officers shall cause the annual report to be filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission in April of each year and shall cause any and all filing required by the Internal Revenue Service and the Arizona Department of Revenue. All officers shall participate in the appointment of all committee chairs.

Officer Responsibilities

Section 1: The President shall preside at all meetings; shall coordinate the work of the organization, its officers and its committees; shall be a member ex officio of all committees except the nominating committee; shall serve as the chief executive officer of the organization.

Section 2: The Vice President shall act as an assistant to the President and shall perform the duties of the President in the absence or disability of that officer until the office is filled and oversees committees, as needed. The Vice President is not required to continue as President in the following school year.

Section 3: The Secretary shall record and keep records of the minutes of all meetings of the organization and executive board; shall keep a current copy of the bylaws; maintain a current copy of committees, their purposes, chairs and members; shall maintain a current membership list with copies to the President, President-Elect and conduct all correspondence of the organization.

Section 4: The Treasurer shall have custody of all funds of the organization; shall keep a full and accurate account of receipts and expenditures; shall make disbursements in accordance with the budget authorized by the organization; shall have checks or vouchers signed by the treasurer or one other officer; shall present a written financial statement at every meeting of the general membership and have same information available upon request of the executive board; shall close the books by June 30, making June a transition month for the newly elected treasurer, and have the accounts reviewed by an auditor or an auditing committee of not less than three (3) persons, who satisfied that the treasurer’s report is correct, shall sign a statement of that fact at the end of the report. The executive board shall select an auditor or auditing committee at least thirty (30) days prior to the new officers assuming their duties.


Section 5:  The Teacher Liaison will oversee and be responsible for conveying PTO information to the room parents in a timely manner.  They will oversee room parent coordination of class parties, teacher gifts, teacher appreciation week & provide assistance to room parents as needed.

 Section 6: The website manager will be responsible for the upkeep of the PTO website and any additional social media channels used by the PTO.  The website manager will update the website monthly (or as needed) and post social media happenings in a timely manner.

Section 7: The Fundraising Chair will be responsible for the annual fundraising campaign including the year-end campaign, the tax credit program, support with community grants programs and third-party events. The fundraising chair will work collaboratively to ensure all fundraising opportunities throughout the year are coordinated, and support the goals of the budget.

Section 8: The Garden Chair will oversee the school gardens and will oversee the garden volunteers.  The garden chair will provide planting advice and help as needed to garden parents and the garden.

Section 9: The Mini Museum Chair will oversee the mini museum curriculum and schedule mini museum visits with each classroom.  They will prep art projects on the mini museum cart and oversee the coordination and execution of the quarterly mini museum projects carried out by the parent volunteers.

Section 10: The Stallion Squad Chair will be responsible for coordinating, scheduling and set up/teardown of various teacher receptions throughout the year.  They will oversee the Stallion Squad, who will further assist with setting up, coordinating and tearing down of the teacher receptions.

Section 11:  The Member at Large will represent, advocate and empower the HTES members while addressing parent concerns with the board. The Member at Large will assist as needed with events throughout the year.

Section 12: The Kindergarten Liaison shall serve in this introductory position the second (2nd) semester of the year. Invitations to join the Executive Board will be sent out from a list of current Kindergarten parents. After the introductory term, the Kindergarten Liaison would be eligible to serve on the PTO Executive Board as outlined in Article V.


Any PTO Board member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the other members of the PTO Board. Acceptance of a resignation is not necessary to make it effective. Resignations shall take effect upon the latter of the following: the PTO Board’s receipt of written notice of resignation or such date as may be indicated in the notice.


The PTO Board may recommend any PTO Board member for removal if it deems removal to be in the best interests of the PTO. Such a recommendation requires a two-thirds vote of the PTO Exec Board members, excluding the PTO Board member recommended for removal, and may occur at any PTO Board meeting for which written notice of intent to remove an PTO Board member is given at least fourteen days in advance.




In the event of a temporary absence of the President, the succession of authority shall go as follows: Vice President, Treasure, Secretary, then Member at Large

In the event of a permanent absence of the President, the Co-President (if applicable) becomes the sole President. If the Co-President position is not being utilized, the Vice President then assumes the Presidency.

In the event of permanent absence of any other PTO Board members, the other PTO Board members shall recommend an interim replacement Officer by a majority vote at a meeting for which written notice of intent to fill a vacancy is given fourteen days in advance. Any such recommendation will be submitted to the PTO membership for approval by a majority vote at the next PTO meeting.

Article VI: Conduct of Officers

Conduct of Officers

In consideration of the protection of its integrity and its 501(c)(3) status and for our protection, we, the undersigned officers, individually, during our term of office, shall:

Abide by and represent our PTO bylaws, Cave Creek Unified School District policies, positions, procedures, and our mission statement.

Discharge the duties and responsibilities of our individual offices with fidelity, integrity, and honesty and declare all personal and/or extended family conflicts of interest when PTO issues, decisions, and funds are involved.

Not misuse the PTO’s federal tax-exempt status or exemption from sales tax for personal or unauthorized purposes nor disburse funds for any purpose other than authorized, budgeted PTO programs, projects, and activities.

Refrain from making slanderous or defamatory comments regarding any individual or organization, verbally, online or in written communication.

Refrain from having disruptive arguments around children and on school property.

Abide by the school’s photo release policy

Follow Cave Creek Unified school district guidelines for fundraising.

Sign and follow the officer social media code of conduct.

Abide by the following conflict of interest policy:

Board members and/or their families shall not use their relation to this PTO for financial, professional, business, employment, personal, and/or political gain.

A conflict of interest exists when a board member would have to participate in the deliberation or decision of any issue of this PTO while, at the same time, the board member and/or his/ her extended family has financial, professional, business, employment, personal, and/or political interests outside the PTO that could predispose or bias the board member to a particular view, goal, or decision.

Board members shall declare to the officers of this PTO conflicts of interest (stating the nature of the conflict and pertinent information as appropriate) between their duties of this PTO and their and/or their extended families’ financial, professional, business, employment, personal, and/or political interests.

When a conflict of interest is declared, the board member shall not use his or her personal influence or position to affect the outcome of the vote and shall leave the room during deliberations and the vote.

The minutes of the meeting shall reflect that a conflict of interest was declared.

Board members shall not:

Use PTO’s name, influence, or resources for their benefit or gain when running for any public elected office or while serving as an elected official.

Directly or indirectly use their current PTO position, the PTO name, or the association for or against any specific candidate for elected office, which is contrary to federal tax laws and the guidelines and policies of the PTO. (Past PTO experience may be listed in any brochures.)

Be in violation of nor be in the act of violating any state or federal laws and/or court orders, including, but not limited to misdemeanors, felonies (e.g., trespass, possession or use of any illegal substances, public intoxication) and/or protective/restraining orders, while conducting any PTO business and/or while participating in any PTO sponsored activity or event, including, but not limited to activities for students, PTO Board meetings and/or conventions, nor while transporting themselves or others to any PTO sponsored activity or event.

Article VII: Committees

Section 1: Only the members of this organization shall be eligible to serve in any elective or appointive positions.

Section 2: The Executive Board may create such standing committees as it may deem necessary to carry out the work of the organization. The term of each chairperson shall be one (1) year or until the selection of a new successor. In all standing committees, every effort should be made to have an assistant chairperson who shall fill the chair the upcoming year.

Section 3: The chairperson of each committee shall present a plan of work to the Executive Board for approval. No committee work shall be undertaken without consent of the Executive Board.

Section 4: The President shall be a member ex-officio of all committees except the nominating committee. All other officers may be members ex-officio of all committees except the nominating committee.




Article VIII: Executive Board

Section 1: The Executive Board shall consist of the officers of the organization, the principal of the school or a representative appointed by him/her.

Section 2: The duties of the Executive Board shall be to transact necessary business in the intervals between general membership meetings and such other business as may be referred to it by the organization; to approve plans of work of standing committees; to present a report at general membership meetings; to present for approval an annual budget in May for the upcoming year.


Article VIIII: Year End Finances and Funds


Year End Finances

Section 1: At the end of each fiscal year, a minimum of $4,500.00 must be carried over to the next fiscal year as start up cash for operating expenses incurred by the upcoming PTO board.

Section 2: Any disbursements outside the approved budget up to $250.00 can be allocated by a majority vote of the Executive Board. Any such disbursements must be reported at the next general session so as to be recorded in the minutes.

Section 3: Teachers, staff, or students requesting financial assistance from HTES PTO must submit their request in writing to the Executive Board for consideration prior to the date of need to allow for board or general membership action.



Use. PTO funds shall be used for programs, events/activities, and items that directly benefit students as well as support the success, celebration and recognition of the students and staff at HTES.

Income. All funds raised by the PTO must be documented and submitted to the PTO Treasurer within ten (10) days of receipt. All funds received by the Treasurer must be deposited into the PTO bank account with four (4) days of receipt by the Treasurer. Separate deposit receipts should be maintained for funds received from unique fundraising events, should those occur.  Monthly income reports will be given to the president from the treasurer.

Expenses. Reimbursements for all expenses shall be made only after receipts for the expenditures have been audited, documented, and approved by the PTO Treasurer and President. Reimbursement requests should be submitted to the PTO Treasurer within thirty (30) days of the incurred expense or by the three (3) weeks prior to the end of the fiscal year, whichever comes first, and must be accompanied by a receipt. Any cash advance to cover expenses prior to a purchase must be documented in detail. All unused funds must be returned to the PTO Treasurer immediately following the purchase. Monthly expense reports will be sent to the president from the treasurer.  Expense submissions of over $100 need approval of the president and treasurer prior to reimbursement.


 Non-Budgeted Requests. Monetary requests for non-budgeted items may be submitted to the PTO at any PTO meeting by any board member, teacher or staff. A vote for approval of the monetary disbursement shall be taken at the next scheduled meeting by the PTO, or a special meeting called to vote if needed.

Reporting. An updated financial report shall be made available in printed form to each PTO member at each PTO meeting.

Balance. A balance of no less than $2500 must be kept in the PTO bank account at all times.


Article X: Financial Obligation

PTO Budget

The President and Treasurer will create the proposed PTO budget for the upcoming school year. It will be reviewed and recommended for approval by the PTO Board and submitted to the general membership for vote and approval. This approved budget will be the PTO operating budget for the school year.

Spending Criterion

Section 1: The PTO policy regarding spending is that Horseshoe Trails Elementary PTO funds are to be used for the benefit of Horseshoe Trails students, Horseshoe Trails staff, and the Horseshoe Trails community. Funds will be distributed in an equitable and fair manner, based on identified needs of the Horseshoe Trails Elementary community.

Section 2: The PTO shall determine how to spend PTO funds.

Financial Controls

Section 1: The President(s) and Treasurer(s) shall be signatories on the bank account of the PTO.

Section 2: Reimbursements for any expenses will be considered only after a “Reimbursement Form” has been completed and submitted with any pertinent receipts to the Treasurer.

Section 3: Requests for reimbursement must be submitted within 30 days of the expenditure.

Section 4:  All checks or vouchers shall be signed by the Treasurer or President.

Section 5:  No contractual arrangement may be entered into for a term in excess of one year.

Section 6:  All contracts must be reviewed and signed by the president.

Section 7: Under no circumstances shall a check be issued to the same individual who endorses it. If a check must be written to the treasurer or president, it must be signed by a different individual with the appropriate authority.



Corporate Loans, Guarantees and Advances

The PTO shall not make any personal loan to or guarantee the obligations of any Officer or member.

No Benefit to any Member or Individual

No part of the income of the PTO shall be paid or distributed to any Officer or other PTO member, individual, or to any private person, except that the PTO shall be authorized to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered, or items purchased and to make payments for budgeted items.


Article XI: Meeting


Section 1: Regular meetings of the Executive Board will be held each month, bimonthly or quarterly as determined by the incoming board, at the first exec board meeting of the year. All PTO officers are expected to attend. Committee chairpersons are to be present if directed to do so by officers.

Section 2: The General Meeting shall be held once each month, bimonthly or quarterly as determined by the incoming board at its first exec board meeting of the year. By a majority vote of the Executive Board, a general meeting can be cancelled with a one (1) time notification to parents, staff and students.


Article XII: Insurance

Section 1: The PTO is responsible for maintaining Liability Insurance per requirement of the Cave Creek Unified School District. Coverage for Directors and Officers is to be included.


Article XIII: Dissolution


Initiating Dissolution

  1. The PTO Board may adopt a resolution recommending that the PTO be dissolved by a two-thirds vote of the members of the PTO Board.
  2. Written notice stating that the purpose of such meeting is to consider the advisability of dissolving the PTO shall be given at least 30 days in advance.
  3. The resolution for dissolution shall be submitted to a vote at a meeting of the PTO membership. Written notice stating that the purpose of such meeting is to consider the advisability of dissolving the PTO shall be given at least thirty days in advance.
  4. Only those persons who were members of the PTO on the date of adoption of the resolution by the PTO Board and who continue to be members on the date of the meeting shall be entitled to vote on the question of dissolution. The resolution shall be approved by a majority vote of a quorum of the general membership.


Upon Dissolution


Upon dissolution of the PTO and after paying or adequately providing for debts and obligations, the remaining assets shall be distributed to one or more non-profit funds, foundations, or organizations that have established their tax-exempt status under Section 501 c (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The PTO Board shall recommend the specific disposition of remaining assets.


Article XIIII: Amendments


Section 1: These bylaws may be amended at any general meeting of the PTO by two thirds vote of the members present and voting. Proposed amendments shall be communicated to each member at least seven (7) days prior to the general meeting.

Section 2: The bylaws of this organization shall be reviewed, at a minimum, every three (3) years. Any changes in these bylaws must be provided to the Arizona Corporation Commission and any other official agency required such notice. The foregoing was unanimously adopted as the Bylaws of Horseshoe Trails Elementary School PTO, a corporation non for profit under the laws of the State of Arizona at the general assembly meeting held on the 8th day of May, 2023


Certification of Approval:

Stacey Leshner & Stefanie Liberatore – HTES PTO President (s)

Aaron Pettinato, M. Ed. Date – HTES Principal




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