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Yes, we were glued to the TV for the sneak preview of Mother Funders, Bravo’s reality show about a PTO  based in Locust Grove, Ga. And yes, Andy Cohen and his Bravo formula sucked us in again. We will be watching episode #2 for sure.  Election drama. Fundraising drama. PTO probation? This group has us interested. Several related and unrelated observations from the preview episode:

1. Whoa—Carla is getting the villain treatment from the producers. Drama needs protagonists and antagonists, and it looks like—so far—Carla is being cast as the Queen Bee. Good to keep in mind that these shows film hundreds of hours for every 30-minute episode, allowing the producers to write/emphasize almost any story they want.

2. PTO probation? Carla replied on social media that probation is in the Locust Grove bylaws. I’ve never seen that, and I’ve certainly never seen it used. I’d like to hear more about the perceived upside to that type of discipline measure within a PTO, as I’m not seeing it. Parents and volunteers have ample choices for where to dedicate their time, talent, and treasure. 

3. At every school, there are volunteers who will stay involved with the PTO or PTA through almost anything because it is their passion or their legacy or they feel like it’s their responsibility. But the vast majority of parents and potential volunteers will fade away or stay away from a group that isn’t pleasant and welcoming and respectful of time. In the long run, strong fundraising results are not enough. The function of a PTO is so much more than that. Furthermore, even the fundraising results will actually suffer as more and more volunteers are run off or scared away in the first place. That’s my biggest worry for Locust Grove.

4. Looks like the producers are getting us ready for a contested election. How great is that? I can hear parent group leaders around the country saying: “Contested election? More than one person fighting for the job? Right about now I’d take a volunteer with a pulse for our vacant VP job.”

Love to hear your thoughts.  We’ve been discussing on Twitter and on our Facebook page, as well.