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Local unit threated by State PTA over PTO plans

11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #161488 by SPEDDAD
As a Special Education PTA here in Connecticut, our relationship with state PTA declined significantly when a small vindictive group took over the leadership of the state PTA and ousted the former state PTA President.

We began to experience less than supportive, nurturing help from the state PTA in Hamden.... the word 'hostile' comes to mind. From their actions (and inaction) it would seem that their NEW motto is, "Every Child One Voice... unless you are Special Ed.

As a consequence, we cut our ties with CT PTA and became a Special Education PTO (SEPTO) at the end of this past school year, and affiliated with the Connecticut SEPTO Alliance. In our town, it makes no real difference since there already is a mix of PTAs and PTOs, and they meet together in one body as a town-wide PTA/PTO council.
12 years 2 months ago #159526 by megangrout
Sarah Jane -- sorry it took me so long to check back. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I am happy to talk to you (and anyone else) offline about our experiences in switching from a PTA to a PTO here in Georgia. I get lots of requests to do so. More parents than I ever realized are frustrated with the Georgia PTA, and just need to analyze what is the best move for their school. Sometimes it's a PTO, sometimes not. But, like I have said, it's essential that you at least weigh your options. I look forward to hearing from you!
--Megan
12 years 3 months ago #159355 by Sarah Jane
Megan,

We are a PTA here in GA and we are at the beginning stages of thinking about going to a PTO....is there anyway I could contact you to discuss this more?

Thank you for all of your insight I have looked and looked everywhere and all of the information is very vague which is making it harder for us to make the change I guess that's the point!
12 years 6 months ago #158570 by Rockne
Thanks for the conversation all. Megan -- your analysis is just like mine. I think PTA is a great fit for some schools. And I think PTO is a great fit for some schools. Both are perfectly workable and both -- most importantly -- are filled with generous people doing really good work for schools and kids.

To the poster two comments up re: process for funds. I wouldn't recommend the donate to another PTA and then have them donate it back route. Too convuluted. I think you are over-complicating. 1. I think that bylaw provision is virtually unenforceable. You could vote to change your local bylaws and stiull have dissolution language that is acceptable to the IRS. 2. But even easier is to just take some simple steps this one time (which might mean one year without that kind of carry-over). Examples: yes, set-up your PTO now. And have your fund-raisers run by the PTO and your fund-spenders run out of the PTA. Won't that get your PTA funds down to near zero fairly quickly (certainly by Spring?)? Another option is to make a large one-time donation to your school or make a large one-time purchase for the kids or the school (playground, electronic white boards, etc.). You can do any of these things before taking your final dissolution vote.

Thousands of groups have made this change. I've never seenone have to give their $$ to the state PTA, despite the threats. The signers on the bank account are your local leaders. That's another undervalued fact. No one gets your local $$ without you guys writing a check.

Tim

PTO Today Founder
12 years 6 months ago #158569 by megangrout
Sorry I haven't checked this thread in a while, and saw there might have been some questions posted to me and our experience becoming a PTO.

Quick update: so far, our first full year as a PTO has been great. More initial donations than last year. Nice to not have to deal with PTA membership dues/cards/extra meetings! More time for all our officers to focus on our school and lengthy to-do lists.

Our school is Heards Ferry Elementary which is in Sandy Springs, GA (a northern suburb of Atlanta.) Since our switch to a PTO, we have had at least 5 local schools mention that they would like our guidance in switching to a PTO. They, too, see that the PTA is not a good fit for every school.

For PTA School and Lovin' It: The issue of advocacy was only one of several reasons that we severed ties with the PTA. You are making an assumption that all parents support the same issues on an advocacy/political lobbying level. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. We are well educated, politically astute parents - who don't always agree with each other on politics and educational issues. The PTA has it's own agenda on these topics. People need to realize the PTA is a lobbying organization just like the NRA or Planned Parenthood. You may support their ideals, you may not. But our parents did not believe that we should require all parents to pay even $1 to a political lobbying organization that they may not always agree with, simply so they can be a member of the school's parent volunteer group. We thought it much more fair to keep politics completely out it. If our parents want to privately support the PTA, they are more than welcome to do so.

As for insurance, the answer is of course we have it. It takes about 5 minutes to set it up. I think you may have been led to believe (by the PTA, no doubt) that without the PTA, any organization that you set up will be severely lacking in important areas. Don't buy into this. People across this country set up corporations, foundations, PTO's, 501(c)3, etc. etc. successfully every day without guidance from the PTA, don't they?

And as for new ideas, do you sincerely believe the only source for new ideas in your school is the PTA? That is very distressing. The PTA organization is made up of regular people - not magical beings with super powers (although I think they want you to believe that!) Our parents are fully capable of coming up with new and great ways to support our school (as are ANY parents at ANY school!) Our last silent auction event netted $106,000 with no help from the PTA organization (for a school with less than 600 students). It was planned and executed by our parents alone. So, I think we're doing OK.

Regarding the membership cost, it wasn't that we couldn't afford the dues. It was a basic cost-benefit analysis. Why pay for something you don't use? Would you pay $7-$10 per day for a lunch you never eat?

As I have said before on this thread, our decision was based on what was best for our school. If you think the PTA is a good and valuable resource to your school, then that is great. But don't denigrate schools that have chosen a different path than you. The PTO was the right decision for us. I think people need to think independently and critically about whether the PTA really is the right fit for their school, and not just ASSUME it is essential because the PTA tells you it is. The PTA is an organization that relies on your dues to exist. Of course they don't want you to leave, and of course they will do/say/threaten some pretty wild things to keep you.

Make your own decisions and don't get pushed around. I would hope you would agree that is good advice for every single parent organization in this country whether they are a PTA or PTO.
12 years 7 months ago #158433 by Kim
We are a small school in Ohio thinking of dissolving our PTAand starting up a PTO. Unfortunately our bylaws have thisprovision: “Upon the dissolution of this organization, after paying or adequatelyproviding for the debts and obligations of the organization, the remainingassets shall be distributed to the Ohio PTA.” We will probably notbe able to spend down our cash to zero and are usually left with approx $15K to start the next year.
We are thinking we would set up the PTO now (Sept or Oct), deposit any newfunds earned into it, "donate" part of the PTA funds to the PTO(which would be a 501c3), spend the rest then either dissolve the PTA at theend of the year or just let it die on its own. Of course we would have totake a vote to make this donation, but we think it would pass. Alternative we thought we may "donate" money to one of the other PTAsin our district, then after the PTO is up and running, have them "donate" itback to us. Do either of thesestrategies seem solid, or are we looking for trouble?
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