Question: teachers pressured to join PTO

I am a teacher. Our PTO recently decided that in order for teachers to access the $100 set aside for their classroom reimbursement, we must pay to join PTO. The amount is minimal, but the expectation that teachers become members seems to be against the spirit of PTO. Is this allowed?? I feel students who raised money should have the benefits of these funds, and it should not be dependent on whether or not their teacher is a member. What do you think?

Asked by Anonymous



Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
I know of two high schools in my area where the parent groups have programs where they give funds (ranging from $250 to $3000) to teachers to buy equipment or other materials not covered by the school budget. One is a PTO, one is a PTA. Both require that the teacher submitting an application be a member. One of the schools also has a college scholarship program, and children who apply for that must also be members of the PTA. Both organizations rely heavily on membership dues to fund their activities, so without the membership dues, they wouldn't even have the money to fund these programs. The dues for staff are below those for parents, and are viewed as a vote of support for the parent group. So yes--it is allowed--guess you could consider it a benefit of membership.

I guess I'm also wondering why you don't want to be a member?

Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
We think encouraging teachers to be part of the PTO or PTA is a good thing. Teachers can add tremendous value to a group. That said, it sounds the way this group is going about it is all wrong. There shouldn't be pressure for you to join "or else'' you don't get anything. There should be encouragement because you--all teachers--can make a difference in that group. Mum24kids raises a great point -- is there a reason that you don't want to be a member?

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