Question: Low participation

Some parents are suggesting that the school offer a discount on tuition to the parents who participate in PTO and have voiced this in a meeting. The school is already 1/3 the cost of other local private schools. How should we respond?

Asked by funwithsugar



Community Advice

firefighter464 writes:
Respond 'no.'

Because how would you quantify 'participate'? Show up at one meeting and do nothing? You'll open a can of worms. Sure, this economy has folks seeking whatever they can do to $ave. But you simply need to get creative in increasing participation some other way. This site is full of great ideas, look around.

And look at your PTO as a marketing person would. How do you SELL PTO, how to you negate objections to participation? Analyze your audience. Why aren't they participating? You will see it's not because they can't afford tuition at your school...because they are already there, huh? Is what you want from them clearly communicated and chopped up into bite size pieces so if they have a little or a lot of time or certain skills they know HOW to participate? Is participating enjoyable and rewarding (not meaning monetarily)? Do you make it easy to know you exists, what your mission is and how anyone can participate?

Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
I think firefighter464 has great points here! And the phrase "can of worms'' is perfect. Connecting participation (which is a subjective term) to a tuition break is really risky.

Look at ways to approach building involvement more positively. Is your group fun? Do you reach out personally and ask for help -- and then follow up with big thank yous?

Here are some other ideas from articles on our site about involvement: 

Parent Involvement Documents and Templates from the File Exchange -- There is lots of good stuff here, including a parent involvement survey.

Good luck! 

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