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A Good Case for a PTO vs. PTA

18 years 3 months ago #75043 by nisaleta
A Good Case for a PTO vs. PTA was created by nisaleta
The following article about a PTSA election at my daughter's school appeared in http://www.EducationNews.org a few months ago. Instead of attempting to correct the election, the 31st District PTSA and California State PTA allegedly chose to cover-up the whole thing. The National PTA chose not to get involved. School Superintendent Roy Romer's Chief of Staff promised the parents that he would investigate the matter, then reneged on his word. The board of education refused to get involved. I'd say they have more concern for their political allies, the PTA, than they have for children.

The comments made by Patty Yoxall that the PTA wants a core group of parent leaders "committed to the PTA agenda" and that if they [the parents] don't like it, they can leave indicates that the PTA is concerned with their own existence, not our kids. How many other fraudulent elections are going on out there?

When an organization allows this type of corruption and does nothing to correct it for the sake of face-saving, political reasons, or whatever reason, it has no place in our schools.

It would be of far greater benefit to the children if the PTA were to be eliminated entirely. Let each school's parents have their own PTO, uncontrolled by anyone other than the parents.

Carlos L'Dera

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LAUSD CORRUPTION EXTENDS TO PTA
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) invokes images of parents and teachers voluntarily giving of their time and effort, working together, to make school a rewarding experience for the students. The image is of school principals encouraging the active participation of parents in the learning environment. California Education Code goes so far as to mandate such encouragement, but certain schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) go out of their way exclude parents. It has been alleged that one such school, Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland, California, has gone so far as to hold a fraudulent election to maintain control and that the District PTA , State PTA and National PTA refuse to remedy the situation.

According to parents of students attending LAUSD, and Mount Gleason Middle School in particular, the district and the school are infamous for their disdain for parent involvement. As a result, participation is restricted to a small faction of parents acceptable to the school administration. By May 17, 2000, when the annual election of PTA officers was scheduled, this faction had dwindled to such a degree that the election had to be postponed; only two eligible members had shown up. The attendance might have been higher if the parents had been notified of the upcoming election (as required by PTA bylaws), but no such notification was made. Besides that, there were no candidates and the incumbent president, who was also an employee of Mount Gleason Middle School (working in the Parent Center), could not hold office again. The election was postponed until June 14, 2000, less than thirty days later.

The incumbent president contacted Carlos and Suellyn L'Dera and asked if either would be interested in running for office. Although they were new to LAUSD and were not members of the PTA, they were becoming known as advocates for parent involvement and for systemic reform at Mount Gleason. Both declined to run due to conflicting agendas, but agreed to attempt to find suitable candidates for office. They were also requested to join the PTA to enable them to vote in the June election. The L'Dera's requested a copy of the bylaws. None were available, but they were promised copies. The request and promise were to be repeated several times.
On June 14, 2000, Laura Vradenburg, another member of the loosely knit confederation of parents that would become Parents Demand two months later, agreed to accept the office of PTA President. Vradenburg was an existing member of the Mount Gleason PTA. L'Dera advised the incumbent of this and was told that Vradenburg would be the only candidate. L'Dera once again asked for a copy of the bylaws and was told that one would be sent home with his daughter. Once again, the copy failed to appear.

At the election that evening, Vradenburg was nominated, but there were some surprises. Kristine Boyle, who had been with the PTA for a number of years and was the current PTA President at her child's elementary school, was also nominated. This seemed unusual since Boyle had no prior connection to Mount Gleason, but it was explained that her child would be attending Mount Gleason the following year and that she was, in fact, a member in good standing of the Mount Gleason PTA. Whether or not Boyle was a member of the Mount Gleason PTA is irrelevant. According to the bylaws, Boyle was eligible to run by virtue of her membership in any PTA.

It was also learned that, contrary to the information provided by the incumbent PTA President, the bylaws excluded members of less than thirty days from voting for officers, thereby excluding the newer members. As a result, only eight members were eligible to vote. Boyle won by a vote of seven to one. Boyle spoke to the reform minded parents after the meeting and explained her qualifications. They were highly impressive. However, concerns were raised when Boyle told the parents that she had been interviewed for the office by school administration earlier that day. Also, some of her statements indicated that Boyle had a personal agenda and expected special consideration for her child as a reward for accepting the office. No one, however, doubted her ability to organize and manage a PTA that had been dysfunctional up to that point.

L'Dera finally received a copy of the bylaws on the night of the election. Reading through it, however, he learned that the election was null and void. The bylaws called for a quota of ten, there were only eight. Further, the bylaws required a thirty day notice to members of an impending election. There had been no notice given except for the announcement at the last meeting which was less than thirty days prior.

Further investigation by L'Dera revealed that the bylaws being used by the Mount Gleason PTA had never been submitted or approved. The actual bylaws were over twenty years old and, among other things, required a quorum of twenty. L'Dera notified California State PTA Parliamentarian Brenda Davis that the election was challenged. Davis refered the matter to District 31 PTA President Kathleen Steinberg and suggested a meeting to discuss and resolve the issue. Despite repeated calls and letters to set up the meeting, the PTA refused to respond. Finally, both the District 31 PTA and California State PTA upheld the election, despite receiving documentation proving that the election was fraudulent. By this time, Parents Demand had been formed and the organization took the matter up with the National PTA, who refered it back to California State PTA and refused to become involved. Parents Demand next took the matter to LAUSD. Joseph Rao, Chief of Staff for LAUSD School Superintendent Roy Romer, committed to investigating the matter, but then refused to honor his commitment. As of this writing, the election is still being upheld. Parents Demand is considering obtaining an injunction.

Mount Gleason also had a Parents Center, funded with Title 1 monies. The Parents Center director was a highly qualified, bilingual, Hispanic woman. Being bilingual-Spanish is highly desirable in a school that is over 80% Hispanic, especially since the law requires bilingual availability for any ethnic population in excess of 15%. The director had one problem, however. She performed her job in accordance with her job description, which required her to encourage parent involvement. This was contrary to school administration's wishes.
During the summer of 2000, when school was not in session, LAUSD terminated the director and eliminated the Parent Center. No notice was given to the parents. Parents Demand protested both actions immediately upon learning of them. Mount Gleason reestablished the Parent Center, but stated there would be a delay in its reopening as the newly hired director could not begin until fingerprint processing had been completed. The new director was not bilingual, but Mount Gleason stated that they conformed to the law by having other bilingual personnel available. In January 2001, Parents Demand asked for a status report. Mount Gleason officials stated that the newly hired director had declined the position at the last minute, but a second director had been hired. School officials did not know the new director's name, but did know that she was not bilingual. The same delay was announced due to fingerprint processing. As of this writing, the Parents Center still has not opened. It has not been established if Mount Gleason has been fraudulently receiving and misusing Title 1 funds. The identify of the new director, however, has been learned. According to school officials, her name is Kristine Boyle.


[This message has been edited by Rockne (edited 06-20-2001).]
1 year 9 months ago #172245 by witheld for privacy
Replied by witheld for privacy on topic A Good Case for a PTO vs. PTA
I cant say this article doesn't surprise me. PTA has historically taken the path of least resistance and the path of not upholding its own rules and bylaws. There is no PTA police and they are reluctant to dissolve chartered units operating illegally and unethically. Even if they declare a unit dissolved and illegally operating, they have no means or authority to shut the unit down. Banks refuse to accept the declaration that the unit is no longer a nonprofit and the wheels of the IRS are rusted to the point of immobility when it comes to nonprofit units making less than $100K.they just don't care.
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