Anyone who has ever run a parent group or committee can relate to the New York Times story this past weekend about a PTA in Brooklyn, New York, that ended up with a big controversy on its hands when it raised the price of cupcakes at a bake sale from $.50 to $1.00.

We’ve all been there. We make a change that we think is either for the best or we think is of no real consequence and the next thing we know we have some seriously upset parents. As was the case at Public School 295 in Brooklyn, though, it really isn’t about the cupcakes. It’s about much bigger issues, like how we embrace all families and make them part of our decision-making process.

In Brooklyn, some parents reportedly felt “blindsided,’’ by the price change, but the real story is the simmering tensions that led up to the cupcake brouhaha. For some time, this school community has been undergoing change, with more affluent families moving into an area that was once dominated by low-income families. Newcomers and long-time residents haven’t seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues, from ticket prices for a recent auction to posting news online.

This cupcake saga is a cautionary tale and one that could help us reflect on how we are leading our groups. Are we keeping our groups as cohesive as possible? Are we making decisions in an inclusive way? Are we reaching out to families and really hearing different points of view?

These are tough questions and some of the biggest leadership challenges we can have. Here are some articles that might spark some new ideas:

If you are interested in how to turn controversy into a positive experience, take a look at this article, which provides a step-by-step look at how to build consensus. . We also have a piece on how to navigate your way through disagreements.

So many groups have programs to embrace the cultural mix at their schools. Here’s just one of our articles that offers some suggestions on how to create a multi-cultural PTO.

Finally, this piece on the basics of parent involvement might give you some good ideas for reaching out in new ways.