Question: Member at large?

who can a member at large be? what are the EXACT duties of a member at large? can the wife of the principal who does NOT live in the community, does NOT work for the schoo, and is NOT a parent be a member at large?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
There are two separate questions to be answered. First, a member at large is typically a board member who doesn't hold an officer position. Her duty as a member at large is to serve on the board. If she has other duties, those would be spelled out by your bylaws. The second question is who can serve on the board -- ie, can the wife of the principal be the member at large on the board? That question also is answered by your bylaws; they should state who can be a member. Some groups limit membership to parents and guardians of children in the school, for instance. In that case, the principal's wife would not be eligible to serve on the board. So, to sum up, I can't give you an exact answer since the answer differs from group to group depending on what the bylaws say. As far as whether it's a good idea to have the principal's wife on the board, I can see pluses and minuses. On the one hand, there certainly could be a conflict of interest--she would presumably choose to support her husband vs. do what's best for the PTO, if that ever came into conflict. On the other hand, having her involved might lend some valuable insight to the principal about how and why the PTO does what it does. In general, I'm in favor of letting whoever is willing to contribute their time and energy take part. But I think if a willing parent is available, I probably would choose that person first over the principal's wife.

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