PTA or PTO? What’s the Difference?
PTA is a membership association with organization at the local, state and national levels. Parent – Teacher organizations that are not affiliated with and do not pay membership dues to the PTA organization are most often referred to as PTO’s and are sometimes called “unaffiliated parent groups.” There is no official organization in an unaffiliated parent group, these groups are on their own to establish their own non-profit 501(c)3 status, write their own Bylaws and Standing Rules, determine their organizational structure and manage their own conflicts and internal issues. Unaffiliated parent groups have no state resources such as conferences or workshops for training; no Region Directors to provide guidance or support and no national organization to provide resources, grants or programs.
Why Should my School Have a PTA?
- Discounted Insurance – All parents groups should have insurance. Most schools do not cover parent group activities. Insurance through AIM also covers Board members against embezzlement
- Bylaws & template standing rules already prepared and fits IRS guidelines.
- Non-profit status included as long as unit continues to follow IRS guidelines with filling out postcard online. To file for non profit status is approximately $750.00.
- Advocating for every child in school and district at the state and national level.
- Only PTA schools can participate in Reflections Program, a Nationally recognized Art program throughout the United States.
- Leadership training provided in every fall for new board members
- Collaboration during the Idaho PTA Advocacy Day event held in winter.
- Legislative Day at the State Capitol along with lunch with Legislators, presentations on current issues regarding education and presentations to both the House & Senate Education Committees
- Leadership training and collaboration at the Idaho State Annual Convention-no need to reinvent the wheel, idea share on best practices to create new ideas and events for your school
- An answer is a phone call or email away. Region Directors are available to help you answer questions, resolve conflict and work through any issues with the IRS with your non-profit status
- Weekly communication with Region Directors on what is happening in our school districts, state and nation in regard to education.
- PTA is its own separate legal entity and its monies earned and spent in a school are decided by membership
- Membership discounts as shown on National PTA website-2016-2017 vendors include AARP, Boxed, Hertz Car Rental, LifeLock, MetLife, Quicken Loans, Schwan’s, Staples, Sylvan Learning, Teen Safe
- National PTA and Idaho PTA resources and forms. It has all been done before and a library of forms ideas available to you on our “member only” portion of our website
Why Should I Join PTA?
The number one reason to join PTA is to benefit your child. Single parents may seek a support network, working parents may want a source of information or a voice, non-English-speaking individuals may look for opportunities to share their culture, and business owners may look for a way to improve their public image. While subscribing to the mission of PTA, members may join to fulfill personal needs. Since PTAs are for everyone, a local unit should support the needs of a wide variety of members—from future parents to senior citizens. When units do this, they provide value to the community and become a relevant group for community members to join.
When recruiting members, it is helpful to emphasize what people gain by becoming involved. Individuals usually respond positively when they believe an association understands their primary needs and is working to address them. How does your unit provide for the needs of different types of people you hope to attract? How do you communicate your commitment to satisfying the needs of all members?
There are more advantages to joining PTA, including discovering resources and programs designed for parents, teachers and students, as well as helping to provide effective solutions for positive changes at your child’s school. Members can increase their leadership skills and serve as role models. Everyone – parents, educators, students and other citizens active in their schools and communities – is invited to join our association.
Every individual who joins PTA helps not only his or her own child but every child. Imagine how strong your community could be if every parent, every community member, and every business leader got involved in PTA!
The PTA Advantage
The PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in America. Today’s PTA is comprised of nearly 4 million parents, teachers, grandparents, caregivers, foster parents and other caring adults who share a commitment to improving the education, health and safety of all children. We speak with one voice for every child.
Today, the issues that affect our children extend beyond their individual schools. The PTA’s nationwide network provides parents with the forum and tools to collectively influence the decisions that affect children not only at their schools, but also throughout their districts, within their states, and across the nation. This mission is unique to the PTA.
Many of the benefits our children receive today, such as universal kindergarten, the National School Lunch Program, and a juvenile justice system, were accomplished as a result of the PTA mission.
With Today’s PTA, families also have access to important benefits, including:
- Dozens of national programs, experts and turnkey resources.
- Regular updates and advice in the form of e-newsletters, PTA.org, Our Children magazine, and a robust Back-to-School Kit of resources.
- Leadership development through webinars and e-learning courses .
- Millions of dollars in grants to help build PTA capacity and skills.
- Prestigious national awards.
- Cost savings from national retailers and other PTA partners.
- Invitations to PTA conventions as well as our conferences for emerging minority leaders, male mentors and advocates .
- Support services and staff to help establish and manage your PTA.
National PTA offers programs to increase family engagement and support the educational success, health, and well-being of all children. Tools and resources, as well as best practices, are available to support you and your PTA in implementing the programs. To learn more about PTA programs and how to implement them, refer to the PTA Programs Quick Reference Guide or visit PTA.org/programs.