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Re:Can a school district do this???

9 years 2 months ago #154261 by pto concern
Re:Can a school district do this??? was created by pto concern
When recently considering disolving our PTA to start a PTO, I was informed by the school district that only PTA's were accepted as parent organizations. To me, this is a bit unjust. One of the highlights (believe me, there are many and this is NOT the only reason for considering the change) for choosing to be a PTO was so that EVERY parent of EVERY child in our school could have a voice and a vote without being required to pay dues. In essence, I feel that the school district is basically saying we will only honor the help, input and support of parnets that pay dues!!! Anyone else heard of this or having a problem with this, or am I just a little oversensitive here???
9 years 2 months ago #154262 by pto concern
Replied by pto concern on topic Re:Can a school district do this???
In addition, I think this is a conflict for the school district....you can only have a say in how your parent teacher group spends time, resources and money by becoming a paid member of a group that is involved with certain political lobbying campaigns. Is that not inadvertantly subscribing to those same lobbying efforts by default if you ONLY allow that organization to act as a parent teacher group in your district? In addition, (I know this is not intended and it IS a BIG stretch) but in essence, you are also stating that you MUST support those efforts if you wish to be a card carrying, voting member of your school's parent teacher group. That's a bit pushy, to me!! They can not STOP a PTO from forming, of course. However they can refuse to accept any monies and gifts, can refuse to allow a PTO to use school property/grounds, and can refuse a PTO access to send literature and media home with students. So although they can't prevent a PTO from forming, they can refuse assistance from a PTO. Just doesn't seem right to me.....
9 years 2 months ago #154264 by Rockne
Hi Concern -

Two separate reactions and then a recommendation:

1. I agree with your assessment of manadating PTA affiliation or PTA membership. I too find an inherent conflict in the PTA being so openly a national political/lobbying organization and then your district mandating affiliation with the PTA for a parent to be part of the parent group at her or his childs' school. I also completely agree that there shouldn't be dues required to belong to the parent group at your child's school.

2. Can your district do what they're doing? I think you captured the practical leverage the district has very well. You can have another group of parents organized, but is two groups really practical or optimal? Could you fight it legally? I'm not sure, but are you really going to go to that length anyway?

So my recommendation is: conversation and education. If that policy already exists, many of your district officials are going to want to let it be, mainly because "let it be" is almost always easiest solution. So you need to cultivate some of those folks (and maybe other parents and additional supporters) on what you are proposing, why its not radical at all (the opposite actually, as most parent groups in US are not PTAs), why it's not risky at all and what you see as the benefits.

In my experience (I have seen this policy in a few districts), the district leaders have either been told that PTA is "safe" or "official" or the like (implying that PTOs are some kind of wild west show) or the district leaders agree with all the politics and like the mandated support. In the first case, I think it's a legit concern so you'll want to show how you plan on dotting/crossing your Is and Ts (very, very doable). In the second, that's trickier -- but it's obviously a misguided political move.

Would love to hear more on your progress. I don't think it's something you'll gte changed in a week but rather over the course of a bit of time. Good news is that you can and should still do great work for your school and for kids before, during and after you work on changing that policy.

Tim

PTO Today Founder
9 years 1 month ago #154345 by Stacey
Replied by Stacey on topic Re:Can a school district do this???
Obviously, Tim is the expert, but I'd like to add a quick thought. Depending on the size of your district, it may be as simple as giving a proposal to the school board. For sure you would need to outline the reasons why you want a PTO. Also consider submitting an example of "generic" PTO bylaws, with the explanation that your PTO would need to tailor the bylaws to support the mission at your specific school. It may serve as an assurance that you're not planning on turning into a renegade group of parents who take over the school. :-)
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