Question: How do we elect the first set of board members to our newly formed PTO

Our school is just now forming a PTO. There are four of us moms on the committee to get it going. We seem to a bit at odds about what our goals are to be. Two of the women want it to be about fund raising. Two of the women want the PTO to start out at least about opening the lines of communication between partents and the board and teachers. The two that want the fund raising have family members on the school board. The two us that want the PTO to be originally started as a line of communication and go into a fund raising with one or two a year do not think that the two with School board family members should be in a position of authority as President or such, at leasnt not right now. Our goal is to have someone attend the board meetings on a reg, basis giving the Newly formed PTO information about what the board is concidering with what goes on with our private school. We had our first meeting today and I am thinking that we are all not on the same page. The two with famiy members as school board members are the ones who =want to make the new PTO all about fund raising (which we do not need first to be done). We have had conflicts in the recent past about miscommunication between the board and the parents so we want that to be the main goal , at least at first. The more parent that become involved in the future then we can turn our sights to the fund raising part. How do we resolve some of these issues, such as the two with school board members being told that they should let one of us without a member on the board attend the school board meetings and how do we go about electing our first PTO board? Do we send out a mass email to the parents of our school saying that we are forming a PTO and that we are taking nominations for the board positions? then ask everyoe intested in running to put their nomination for whatever position they want? Then have another meeting where hopefully more parents attend and hold a voting process to elect the officers? And how do we make it clear that we do not want this to be an extension of the school board, but a separate entity from the school board and do not want someone on PTO board attending the school board meetings as we think they would be partial to whatever it is their husband on teh school board or mother on the school board reccomends taht we as a aPTO group do?

Asked by Shannonaleab



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
It does sound like you need some more people involved. A good next few steps might be to call a general organizational meeting, appoint a committee to write bylaws and develop a mission statement (could be two committees), then hold a meeting to approve the bylaws and mission statement and to elect officers. Yes, you should take nominations from the floor for officers -- the people who have done the work to get things organized are the logical choices, but you can't limit nominations to just those people. As far as fundraising being your primary means for existence, that can work in the short term, but it's not a good formula for long-term success. Not many people get excited about fundraising. More people get excited about interacting with the kids and the school in a meaningful way by organizing family nights, after school programs, helping teachers, etc. You'll get more people involved with your group with this broader focus. And if you focus on building a connection between parents and the school, you'll actually have more fundraising success in the long-term. That's because people are more likely to give/buy if they feel like they are part of something than if they feel like a third party is always prodding them for money. Also, it may seem like every parent will participate if you have the right fundraiser—after all, their own kids are students at the school and will benefit—but it just doesn't work that way. Parents who have little personal connection to the school often won't see how the PTO's work makes a difference. If you haven't read it yet, we have a pretty good story with a lot of resource links called How To Start a PTO. You might also find the stories on How To Write PTO Bylaws and Creating a Mission Statement helpful. Good luck!

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