Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PTA?

A PTA is a local, self-governing unit. It promotes the Purposes, policies and guiding principles of the state branch and the National PTA as it plans programs and activities to meet the needs of children and youth in the community. It is linked through its all-inclusive membership and by its acceptance of the Purposes and policies of the National PTA and the State PTA. It shares in the resources of the entire organization such as national and state conventions, workshops, conferences, publicity and special leadership development conferences.

Requirements for Organization In order for a group to form a PTA, the following are required:

f Have 10 (ten) individuals willing to become members. Annual enrollment to remain in good standing is a minimum of 10 members per year if there is a school enrollment of less than 200. For school enrollment of 200 or more, PTAs are required to enroll a minimum of 25 members annually.

f Be committed to the Purposes, basic policies and guiding principles of the PTA

How can I become a member?

Just call your local public school. If they have a PTA, they will be able to tell you how to join. Remember, PTA membership is open to everyone. You do not have to be a parent to join.

Is it expensive to be a PTA member?

No! PTA membership is very reasonable. While each local PTA sets its own membership fee, the average is about $5.00 per member to belong for an entire year.

Are there many PTA members?

PTA is the largest volunteer organization in the United States with one purpose--to serve children, their families, and their school communities. There are approximately six million PTA members in the nation, and over 105,000 PTA members in South Carolina.

What if my local school doesn’t have a PTA?

Contact the SCPTA Office 800-743-3PTA (3782) or 803-765-0806 or via e-mail at office@scpta.org. We will have the district president for your area to get in touch with information and a New Unit Start-Up Kit. In areas without a district president, a member of the SCPTA Board of Directors will make the contact.

What does your PTA mean?

b It means investing in your children’s future.

b It means having a voice in local, state, and national decisions on issues and concerns facing today’s children and youth.

b It means having access to valuable resources and materials on parenting, education, health, and safety topics.

b It means being part of the national PTA, the largest volunteer organization dedicated exclusively to advocating on behalf of all children, and being part of your state and district PTA.

Why does the local unit need to know my name?

IRS regulations require that 501.c.3 non-profit organizations keep an accurate accounting of each member. Member’s information is kept confidential and used solely by PTA to determine how to best provide benefits to its members.

Where does the money go?

PTA members often wonder how membership dues are used. Here are some of the services funded by membership dues at different levels of PTA.

6 Local PTA and PTSA Dues: programs and projects for students and parents; training for volunteers; newsletters.

6 District PTA Dues: leadership training; workshops and conferences; outreach services; newsletters; community projects benefiting children and youth.

6 State PTA Dues: materials, resources, and publications; conferences and conventions; field service; child advocacy.

6 National PTA Dues: all of the above, on the national level.

Can students be involved in PTA?

Student involvement in middle, junior high and high schools is a very important part of PTA. PTSAs encourage student involvement. To be successful with student involvement, it is necessary to involve students as full members, with all the rights of the parent, teacher and other adult members. It is very valuable to involve the students in all planning and decision making for all of your PTAs projects. The students are a great asset, for they are very in tune with what is really happening at the school and what is needed.

Will local leaders receive leadership training and support?

SCPTA offers leadership development assistance in many forms.

o SCPTA Convention- SCPTA holds an annual convention in April or May, offering workshops for all PTA leaders, from presidents to committee members, in all areas of PTA work.

o Summer Leadership Conference – Usually held in July, this conference will help to kick start your PTA and get you off to a great start. Offerings include workshops for all PTA leaders and other stakeholders who are interested in the welfare of children and youth in your school and community.

o District /Council Conferences and Meetings- The Districts/Councils of the South Carolina PTA have meetings, conferences, seminars, and schools of instruction to provide leadership development to local PTAs and PTSAs. To find out about your district, contact the District President in the welcome letter or the South Carolina PTA office at office@scpta.org or by calling 803-765-0806 or 800-743-3782.

o Legislative Conference – Gives delegates an opportunity to approve the South Carolina PTA Legislative Platform a vehicle that speaks on behalf of all of the children of South Carolina. Assistance in understanding bills and how the legislative process works can be learned by attending this conference.

What else does South Carolina PTA offer?

b Reflections Arts Program (Arts contest for students in grades K-12)

b Helen Stokes Memorial Scholarships (College scholarships for graduating high school seniors)

b Endowment Fund Grants (Merit grants for local PTA units to implement programs in their schools to promote the Purposes of PTA

b Parent Involvement Schools of Excellence Certification (National PTA program that recognizes schools for excellence in Parent/Family Involvement programs)

b SCPTA Awards Program (Recognition to Local Units for outstanding programs, membership campaigns, legislative advocacy, parent and volunteer programs as well as recognition for Outstanding Principal, Volunteer, and Teacher of the Year)

What does it mean to be a SCPTA Unit in "Good Standing"?

All PTA local units must meet the following requirements and to remain in good standing with the South Carolina PTA and the national PTA. Units that lose this designation are in-eligible to receive PTA benefits and awards and risk the discontinuation of their 501.c.3 federal tax-exempt status.

c Be organized and chartered under the authority of the SCPTA.

c Have bylaws approved every three years by the unit membership and SCPTA bylaws chair.

c Adhere to the purposes and policies of the National PTA and SCPTA.

c Remit state, national and district/council dues by required dates.

c Have federal EIN on file in the SCPTA office.

c Submit Officers Report to SCPTA by May 31st.

c Submit to the SCPTA office the Financial Review for the previous year and the budget previous year by October 1st.

c Submit to the SCPTA office the budget approved by the general membership for the current year by October 1st.

c Adhere to IRS regulations by providing a membership enrollment list to SCPTA and by filing a form of 990 by November 15 annually.

Does a PTA ever lose its identity?

Yes. There are three ways by which a PTA may cease to function as an organization. The unit charter must be returned to the South Carolina PTA should any of the following occur:

e Two or more organized local PTAs combine.

e A unit fails to pay the national and state portion of its dues by March 31. Reinstatement must be resolved through the South Carolina PTA office and the treasurer.

e A PTA unit, by due process, votes to dissolve. Steps on dissolution are fully outlined in the South Carolina PTA Bylaws and are listed below.

STEPS FOR DISSOLUTION Dissolution of a unit annuls its bylaws. The motion "to dissolve as a unit of the PTA" is the same as a motion to amend its bylaws by rescinding the entire document. Therefore, a 30-day prior notice and a two-thirds vote of all members present (a quorum being established) is required for such action.

How can I order from SCPTA Store without going to an event?

Until our online store is completed, please email Debbie Holt-Long at store@scpta.org

What do I do if I have questions about membership?

h Please contact Rosa Fulmore, vpmembership@scpta.org

Making every child’s potential a reality.