Frequently Asked Questions. . .
Q. Does our principal dictate where our PTA/PTSA spends money?
A. No, your principal cannot dictate where or how your PTA/PTSA spends its money. The principal of your school’s local unti is automatically a board member and as with each board member has one vote.
Q. Is PTA required to operate in the Sunshine?
A. No, PTA is a private organization that does not fall under the Florida law that provides a right of access to governmental proceedings at both the state and local levels.
The PTA encourages closed Executive Board meetings. The Board meeting is for the business of the board members only. Guests may be invited to PTA board or committee meetings to bring special information, but they do not participate as voting members of the group. Generally, they leave the meeting after providing the information.
A “courtesy seat” may be granted by general consent or by vote of the committee members to special guests such as past presidents or representative of other organizations or agencies, giving them permission to attend that particular meeting only. Those granted a courtesy seat may speak with permission of the chair; however, they do not have the privilege of making motions, debating or voting.
Closed meetings allow board members to speak freely when nitty-gritty details or confidential matters must be discussed. However, remember that an individual who is interested enough to attend either committee or board meetings may be worthy of being appointed as an active member of the board.
Q. May PTA units elect co-officers?
A. PTA does not recognize co-officers.
Q. May our principal be an elected officer?
A. Per PTA bylaws, the principal (or designated representative) is automatically on the executive board with voting privilege. PTA discourages principals from being an elected officer as this action takes a board seat away from an additional board member.
Q. May our PTA/PTSA run the money for the school’s bookfair through our account, even though it’s not a PTA project?
A. Because a PTA/PTSA local unit is a private organization, PTA funds should only be deposited in a PTA/PTSA account. All money deposited in a PTA account will be considered PTA funds by the IRS and must be reported as such. A PTA should never deposit school or school-related money in its account.
If a PTA sponsors a project or program in cooperation with the school, all funds should be accounted for and separated prior to the immediate deposit of the PTA portion in the PTA bank account.
Q. Help! My board is split between the parents who have been on the board for years and years and years and do not like change and those who are new and offering fresh and exciting ideas! As president, what can I do?
A. Change is hard on many people and often difficult for them to accept. However, introducing new people to PTA and encouraging their involvement is vital to a local unit’s growth and future existence. The following strategy will help merge the two groups of parents into an effective PTA, and in the process, make your job a little easier:
1. While veteran PTA board members might now be seen as a challenge, their experience is of tremendous value that you won’t want to underestimate. Your respect and acknowledgement will be appreciated and will lead to their support and comfort level with new ideas.
2. Follow local unit bylaws. The bylaws help to establish consistency and provide guidelines for a basic structure within PTA.
3. Follow your unit’s standing rules. If your unit doesn’t have any, consider forming a committee to write them.
4. Have a yearlong plan of activities and events that is voted by the board and then adhered to throughout the year. Make sure that your budget is always approved by your general membership.
5. Remember that PTA operates within a democratic framework allowing everyone to have input, but then making final decisions by voting.
6. You, as president, are in control of the meetings. Encourage everyone who wishes to speak to do so. Acknowledge all comments – from new and veteran board members, alike. Allow discussion, but keep it within reasonable time limits. Don’t let anyone dominate the discussion. Bring items to a vote (after a motion is given and seconded) that you feel need a clear decision.
7. Study and follow Roberts Rules of Order, your FPTA Kit of Materials and NPTA Annual Resources Guide. A firm knowledge of PTA is essential and will give you backup and guidance to your leadership.
8. Your leadership will set the tone and attitude of PTA in the board meetings and outside, as well. Be sure to speak and listen to all parents and members at functions. Ask for their help. During your general meetings, give a full account of what the PTA is accomplishing (beyond raising funds) and make newsletters informative and educational as to the goals and mission of PTA. The more your general membership knows of PTA the more they will want to be involved.
10. Be sure to train your board to assume leadership roles in accordance with PTA guidelines and suggestions. The more people you train (especially to take on the role of president after your term is over) the more involvement you will have.