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PTO v PTA

9 years 10 months ago #165908 by Ansley
Replied by Ansley on topic Re:PTO v PTA
I've found random bits and pieces of information about this, but what's the deal in New York City? The Chancellor's regulations (that require all schools to have parent organizations and prevent them from requiring dues payments of members) define parent and parent-teacher organizations/associations in schools as PAs and PTAs, and have for a very long time, and none (that I know of) pay dues to a national PTA. Is there just a silent truce on this?

Just curious.

Thanks!
10 years 2 months ago - 10 years 2 months ago #165249 by njmom
Replied by njmom on topic Re:PTO v PTA
LeeAnn,

How about disclosing that you are the president of the Nebraska state PTA before bashing PTO Today and PTOs in general? www.nebraskapta.org/our-association-and-board-members/

I converted three PTA groups to PTOs many years ago. We received not one iota of support from our state PTA and paid thousands of dollars in dues for absolutely no return. We desperately needed (and still need) to keep as many dollars in our schools to support vital programs for our students. All three PTOs have their 501c3 status, file state and federal tax returns and operate by the books.

Many schools in our district chose to stay as a PTA. I don't bash them for THEIR choice because it is a choice. It works for their school community and I respect that. The one and ONLY time I heard from the NJ state PTA was when we notified them that we were disbanding our PTA. They demanded our books and our money. We ignored them (and had already drained our PTA account anyway) and moved on.

Warmest regards from PTO land,

NJ Mom
10 years 2 months ago #165219 by Rockne
Replied by Rockne on topic Re:PTO v PTA
Hi LeeAnn -

This is going to sound snarky, but: 1999 called and wants its argument back.

I though we were way past this. Heck, the National PTA sued us in 2012, and we had to educate even them, even then, on how so many of those arguments are incorrect.

It's simply wrong to imply that all or most PTOs are operating illegally. Thousands and thousands are 501c3s on their own and operate 100% as officially and legally as PTAs (without paying annual dues to the PTA). And thousands more (at Catholic schools, for example) operate as part of their schools -- which is perfectly legal, as well.

Similarly, PTOs can and do get insurance and can and do follow the rules of their policies.

In terms of independence and flexibility, there's just no doubt that PTOs have more. You say: "each PTA is its own entity and can do what they like." But this is not true. There's a lot of independence, but there's more as a PTO. Can a local PTA publicly come out against the Common Core? Or for vouchers? (pro-common core and anti-voucher are strong national PTA advocacy positions). I'm not arguing that either position is wrong, but a local PTA is not free to advocate publicly against those positions. A PTO could do as they please on both.

Finally, the old "PTA is non-profit and PTO Today is for-profit" saw also went away a long time ago. At least in terms of relevancy. PTOs are not PTO Today, not even close. PTOs do not have to pay PTO Today a dime. Nearly all of our services -- like these message boards -- are completely free (to groups of all acronyms). Anything we do sell (like tickets to our Expos, which are way cheaper than tickets to PTA conventions) is completely optional and open to all. We are for-profit, and we try to make $$ from the advertisers who love the connection we have with readers.

We love parent groups, all parent groups. We hope every single group of every single acronym does great things for kids and schools. We don't care whatsoever what acronym those groups take. We hope they'll take the one that is the best fit for their own goals.

Tim Sullivan
Founder, PTO Today

PTO Today Founder
10 years 2 months ago #165215 by LeeAnnFarthing123
PTO v PTA was created by LeeAnnFarthing123
I think that your article here only skimmed over the resources available through PTA. PTA and PTO's are very different; PTA's do have a structured layout (mostly to protect their leaders and members). Most volunteers that sign up to be a leader of their parent group don't know or understand their legal obligations to their non-profit. The IRS puts out strict rules on the do's and don'ts of organizations, associations etc. PTA has built their bylaws to comply with said things.

PTOs or non-affiliated parent group rules might seem more flexible, mostly because the volunteers in these groups don't know how to operate a legally recognized group. That leads to guidelines and laws being broken and sometimes this falls on the leaders themselves. Did you know that the IRS says that if you collect or raise any type of funding that you have to report it. You are either a for profit entity (i.e. PTOtoday) or a non-profit (i.e. PTA), there is no inbetween according to the IRS? Did you also know that it is illegal to collect funds using your schools EIN number and representing yourself as the parent group of that school? PTA has designed bylaws ensure that when you sign up to be president, treasurer or a committee chair, that you don't put yourself in a bad spot by making a decision that could effect you personally or even worse your school.

A good example is insurance, if you read closely on any insurance policy there are certain things that you have to do to stay in compliance with your policy (i.e. not taking money raised from your group home, having two counters for money collected, having a voted in budget, etc). So when you have a claim on your policy and you didn't follow their rules, your school and volunteers are not protected.

The other benefits are financial, i.e. grants, programs and resources. PTA is the largest non-profit child advocacy group in the country the main focus, only focus is bettering our childrens education. PTA does this by empowering families and community members to have a voice and to stand strong for your own children, your own community and our own schools.

One person in a crowd standing up makes a very small difference, 5 million people standing up and demanding more out of our public education brings our country together to better our education system.

Each PTA is their own entity and they can do what they like. The rules (as for an well functioning non-profit) are basically this; allow all participants in your PTA to have a voice, to comply with state and federal laws, to stand up for what you and your school believe in, hold your school accountable, be involved as much as you can and know that you have a community that is here to support you and your family.

The easiest path is not always the wisest path. If PTA is not for you then by all means create a group that fits what you need in your school, but know PTA has no hidden agenda and is NOT a for profit company like PTOtoday. The membership dues collected funds, training, resources, programs and much more. 80% of national PTA's goes right back into their members, can PTOtoday say the same.

Warmest Regards,

LeeAnn
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