Considerations for converting from a PTA to a PTO
We are facing changes at Don Benito next year. National PTA has imposed new rules severely limiting the flexibility of our local Don Benito PTA unit. Because we’d like to have greater say in how we serve the needs of our community, we're considering changing from a PTA to a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) unit.
Being a PTO would make us an independent parent group and allow us to create our own bylaws. This gives us more control over how our parent organization functions, including how we raise money and where we spend it. We’ve discovered there are almost twice as many PTOs as PTAs in the United States, and that number is growing.
Making this change is a big decision and involves all parents at our school. To help you understand the differences between a PTA and a PTO, we’re providing the following information, and related links. Please take a moment to read it, then come to our June 6 PTA meeting to help us make the best choice for everyone.
- Training classes for specific PTA positions
- Under the national PTA banner we have a lobbying voice in Washington.
- Structured hierarchy to turn to when questions arise about PTA processes.
- PTA Insurance for $99.
- PTA is no longer able to fundraise for teacher salaries. We are currently helping to cover the salaries for our Librarian and Computer Instructor and have funded all or part of other positions in the past, such as School Nurse’s Aide
- PTA must follow an arduous approval process to reimburse or distribute budgeted funds, requiring parents and teachers to wait two months or more to receive reimbursement.
- PTA is no longer allowed to accept and distribute money for teachers’ wish lists. Wish list donations must be given in the form of a physical item or a gift card, creating hardship and confusion for certain classroom needs.
- PTA is required to spend our funds on the school as a whole. We aren't allowed to fund specialized projects for a single teacher, grade or group within our school no matter what the need.
- Of the $6.00 we charge for membership, our school only gets to keep $1.50. The balance must cover PTA Council, First District, State and National PTA fees.
- Updating our bylaws has been a two year undertaking, requiring State and National PTA approval, and resulting in changes that are outdated before they’ve even been implemented.
- No membership dues. And all money we raise stays at our school.
- Every parent is automatically a member of our PTO, increasing our membership numbers for teacher grants.
- Increased control over the governing of our PTO through bylaws that may be amended more efficiently and effectively.
- Our own bylaws dictate how and where we can spend the money we raise so we can be more responsive to the needs of our school.
- One year process to convert from a PTA to a PTO requiring:
- new bylaws, elections, banking accounts and EIN number (we're currently operating under the State PTA EIN),
- Incorporating in the State of California, which requires $30 one-time fee,
- Gaining nonprofit status as 501 (c)(3) organization, which requires $850 one-time fee,
- Disbanding our existing PTA.
- Independent PTO insurance to limit personal liability
- PTO Today offers insurance at $475 which includes membership in PTO Today allowing us access to all of their forms, forums, and assistance. There are additional packages offering greater coverage at increased cost.
- Independent insurance can be acquired from any insurance broker at varying prices depending on coverage.