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Appropriate involvement of PTO

16 years 3 months ago #141137 by FoxMom
Keep us posted as to what you might do on this subject-- this is something that is not allowed in our district, but we need to keep our eyes and ears open all the time to possibilities of this type of thing starting up-- especially since some parents that have been on a PTO board are now running for School board positions.
16 years 3 months ago #141130 by Menlo Tigers
We would never hand out anything about the school budget or anything political. We welcome discussion of anything at the open forum part of our meetings, but we are not the school or school system. A PTO is a separate entity that works for the school and it's children.
16 years 3 months ago #141128 by FoxMom
It all depends on how you want to handle this type of thing--
I think going to the paper about the school board might be a start--
You might have to take this a little higher and go above the school board.
Our by-laws clearly state that we are not allowed to participate in these types of activities and we are NOT allowed to give funds out that support political issues-- so check your by-laws and see if there is anything in them about this--
The other thing you have to consider when doing this is your family-- especially if you think there would be back-lash.
Good luck!
16 years 3 months ago #141116 by Dahlia
This is very helpful, thank you. I hope there are more responses.

This has been going on for a decade or so. The Superintendent set up a group to support his budget - no questions asked - shortly after he came into the district. It took us a while to figure out that he uses the PTO to deliver the "yes" vote. (The lawn signs and bumper stickers say "Vote Yes!") It's a quid pro quo relationship - he gives the heads power, and they work the PTO membership. The group that pays for color ads in the newspapers and fliers at the polling place is composed of school board members and independent donors. One board member said he had no problem with this ethically. The PTO funds contributed to that is a very small percentage of the budget - but it's money taken away from other projects as far as some of us are concerned. Then there is the ethical problem. In one of the elementary schools, the line item is even listed as something like "voter publications".

When we finally had public hearings on the math issue, one of the board members confessed that they knew the PTO boosters of the curriculum had not been telling the truth. Yet the same group deliberately misrepresented information on a different project - a construction project that cost the taxpayers nearly 3 million dollars - and the board didn't want to investigate the misrepresentation of facts.

Again, thank you for your input. If you have any suggestions about how to tackle taking down this "machine" we would be very appreciative.
16 years 3 months ago #141108 by pals
Short answer THIS IS NOT STANDARD PRACTICE AT ALL! A Pto needs to be careful on how it speaks, unless you can be sure 110% of your membership supports the cause you should not as a group be doing these things, if parents want to support these things as individuals (not pto reps) then they should do it that way.
As far as a flyer promoting the budget, your group should not be supporting anything except for people to get out to vote. Is this common practice and how long has this been going on? Also shame on your school board for using the group in this way...they should know better!

"When you stop learning you stop growing."
16 years 3 months ago #141102 by Dahlia
I've been working for PTO projects in my school district since 1999. As a working mom, I don't have time to chair anything, run for election, or attend meetings during the day. But I have volunteered in so many ways, I can't count.

I'm scared to ask this in my community because it's small - I would be shunned and it's possible questioning the status quo would have an impact on my children. It concerns me because I feel as if we are deflecting from projects that could really enrich our children's school years.

Please let me know if you have heard of a PTO or its heads doing the following:

Using PTO funds to print up bumper stickers, fliers, signs, and to purchase advertisements in the local papers that promote the school budget. The fliers -illegally handed out in the polling place - had lots of misinformation. All of our elementary schools, middle, and high schools contribute to this fund.

Working with School Board members to fund the above projects, so that those who question some of the budget choices are marginalized and never have a voice.

Standing up en masse at school board meetings to say that the math curriculum set in place in the district shouldn't be changed, and denying parents who wanted a team of teachers and math specialists to investigate the curriculum a venue for their concerns. These tactics delayed curriculum investigation by three years, and when they finally began, it was determined that our district did indeed have a poor math curriculum and our students underperformed.

Supervising building plans with the superintendent for construction projects worth millions of dollars. This isn't raising money for playgrounds - this is sitting down and advising on how to tweak building plans. The PTO heads who were participated in this were not architects or engineers.

I'm putting this out there in the greater parent community to gauge whether this is standard practice. Thank you in advance for your input.
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