Question: PTA to PTO switch q's

I just left a PTA meeting where we all voted on changing from PTA to PTO. Is it necessary for us to obtain a lawyer to do the switch, or is it something we can do ourselves? We are willing to do any and all paperwork necessary. Is there some document or website that explains step-by-step instructions? Any information you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:

You can certainly do the work yourself. Many parent groups make the switch each year without the assistance of a lawyer; it’s really a relatively straightforward process.

Just FYI, disbanding an existing PTA is independent of the process to start a PTO. You’re not turning your PTA into a PTO—technically, you’re winding down your PTA and starting up a completely new and separate entity. In fact, it’s perfectly alright to have the new group start up before the PTA is completely dissolved. Elly recommends this timing as it helps ensure that there’s no gap between the end of the PTA and the beginning of the PTO.

For specifics on disbanding your PTA, refer to the procedures in your current bylaws. Each state PTA has slightly different requirements. In general, before you formally disband, you’ll want to spend down your PTA accounts to zero (or as close to it as possible). Doing so will help avoid conflicts at the end over who owns what (the state PTA or your local group).

After that, many state PTA bylaws require that you announce a meeting a certain number of days in advance (often 30) and—after debate—the vote to disband usually needs to pass by a 60 percent or 66 percent supermajority. In a few states, bylaws require that you allow a state PTA representative time to speak at your disbanding meeting before taking the vote. Be sure the president or secretary gives the representative a set amount of time.

The PTO Today Start-Up Guide includes this information and more. Helpful information can also be found on the PTO vs. PTA topic page and on the message boards, and in the article “Switching From PTA to PTO”.

Answer this question: