Organizational challenges are typical as the school year starts. PTO members (old and new) often have to figure out how to work with each other.

But imagine a newly consolidated group of more than 20 members--on the executive board alone. That's what's happening in Elbert County, Ga. Parent volunteers just created a districtwide jumbo PTO that maps with a restructured school system for students in Elberton and Bowman.

The new executive board has two treasurers, two public relations chairs, a secretary, and committee chairs and faculty representatives from each of the schools. Leading it all will be Bethany Booth, who was a PTO president and is now chairperson of the Elbert County Consolidated PTO.

This PTO replaces several individual PTOs that were affiliated with five elementary schools, a middle school, and high school. The new district consists of an early learning center for preschoolers, one primary school for kindergarten and 1st grade, one elementary school for grades 2-4, one middle school for grades 5-8, and a high school.

Booth says the PTO consolidation plan came about because she was concerned the restructured district would hurt parent involvement by diluting a sense of community. For example, parents who may have had multiple children at one elementary school could now find their children attending three different schools.

She pitched the idea to the school administration and got the go-ahead. The plan is to consolidate all major events, such as the fall and spring festivals. Each individual school can hold one targeted fundraiser per year. And in the meantime, the PTO will be working toward creating a unified community.

“We are trying to bring it to-gether,” Booth says. For example, she says the PTO plans to sell T-shirts with the new group’s motto, “Hand in hand, all together we can.”