To the Editor:
I’d like to set the record straight about the PS/IS 217 PTA in light of some recent comments. The PTA is proud to serve our community as Roosevelt Island’s largest non-profit entity, serving our ever-growing school community, with approximately 650 students enrolled this year at 217.
The PS/IS 217 PTA has been registered as a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN: 13-3332178) since 1992. Our EIN number is listed on our official website (www.217pta.com). Also, as required by the New York City DOE, all income and expenses for the PTA are documented and presented at our monthly PTA meetings in detailed reports.
The PTA is also in compliance with the applicable tax laws. Although PTAs are exempt from filing New York State tax returns, the PS/IS 217 PTA does file federal tax returns every year, on time. Our PTA’s fiscal year runs from September 1 to August 31, which means our federal tax returns are due January 15 of each year (automatically extendable to April 15). Our tax returns are publicly available at sites such as foundationcenter.org and guidestar.org. In addition to providing RIOC with our annual budget and financial statement when applying for Public Purpose Funds, the PTA also provided a copy of our most recently filed IRS 990.
One of the ways that the PTA works to build community on our Island and around our school is to manage and support the Farmers Market space and annual Christmas Tree Sale. Managing the market fits squarely with the PTA’s mission as the Saturday market provides a key community space for Islanders, including PS/IS 217 students and families, to gather, and a venue for other Island organizations to raise money for their groups (free of charge), further building bridges in our community. We also know that many Islanders depend on the weekend market for access to fresh produce and other goods.
The yearly earnings from the Farmers Market have been around $20,000 for many years. For this, we are thankful to the community and RIOC – the market allows us to raise needed funding without further taxing our parent population, which also donates money to the PTA and contributes at various school events. Our three long-term weekly vendors, Hoboken Farms, Vesco, and Wengerd Farms, pay rent by check. Drop-in vendors pay our two volunteers – parents of current PS/IS 217 students – who provide them with a receipt. Most drop-in vendors pay $15 per table; this rate has remained constant for many years.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community and to build a bright future for our children.
PS/IS 217 PTA President