Which is suggested to start & what is the difference between these two? - PatriciaNosgovitz
If you look at the PTO Today "shortcuts" below, you'll see one for PTO vs. PTA--if you haven't read that, you might want to start there. Both types of groups do great (and almost identical) things for their schools, so it's not a situation where there is something you can do for your school only if you are one type and not the other. Probably the biggest single difference is that with PTA, you are part of a National organization, and you need to pay dues to it (at a state and national level). As a PTO, you are completely independent. When we converted from a PTA to a PTO, we did so primarily for these reasons: 1) We wanted everyone (all parents and school staff) to be a member of our organization and not have to pay dues, 2) we did not utilize any of the resources of either the National or state PTA, and 3) a number of parents did not agree with the political positions taken by the state PTA on several issues. Converting from PTA to PTO made no difference in the day to day operations of our group--we still had book fairs, family nights, teacher appreciation, etc. But that was us--your reasoning may be different. So I would make a list of the pros and cons of each, and figure out which things are most important to you, and go from there.
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