The following is a retyped copy of a document I produced in an effort to get Nottingham Country Elementary to change from a PTA to a PTO.  I was unsuccessful. 

But read it anyway to see how UNreasonable one would have to be to prefer a PTA over a PTO!



1.  Membership fees "not that much of total budget."

2.  Affiliated with "largest child advocacy group."

3. Voice in legislative program.

     a.  maintain lobbyists

     b.  return information to local units

4.  Provide "leadership" training.

5. Provide communications in the form of the PTA COMMUNICATOR

6.  Information source on all areas of education

     a. superintendent calls on PTA presidents

     b.  PTA presidents adhere to the same basic policies

7. Ten-Twelve Program Kits available for $2 mailing fee.

8.  PTA has a state convention to which local units send members with paid for expenses by the local PTA

9.  PTA has a central organization at the national level.

10. PTA's "legislative influence is its single most important aspect."

*SOURCE:  Barbara Sims, President of the Harris County Council of PTA's


Advantages of PTO *

1.  All money from membership dues, Halloween and/or Spring carnival earnings, school supply sales, donations, Gerland's receipts, spirit boosters, pop corn sales, et cetera will be returned to the school as a direct benefit to our children.

2.  Membership fees can be less if we desire since 55% of the fee does not have to go to district, state or national organizations.

3.  All programs undertaken as a PTA this year can still be done as a PTO, but we will have more money with which to do them.

4.  The purposes of PTO are essentially the same as those proclaimed by the PTA. They don't include the PTA's hidden agenda.

5.  PTO is analogous to being non-union;  we will have the benefits of PTA legislation (if there are any) while retaining our own initiative.

*  SOURCE:  Mary McGarr, other committee members and comments from various PTO presidents and principals in KISD.















In talking with the presidents or principals, XXX, XXX and I asked several questions of all of them.  Among them were these:  How did you decide to be a PTO or a PTA?  Why do you like being what you are?


ADDICKS:  The PTO president said, "We changed from being a PTA to being a PTO.  We didn't want to send our money in for something we couldn't take advantage of.  The purpose of a parent-teacher organization is to directly serve the children through the teacher.  Any other purpose such as the social aspects of attending meetings and conventions is secondary, unnecessary, and valueless.

PTA does give help in the initial organization (of a PTA), but after that they serve no useful purpose.

Keeping our own money enables us to give many more scholarships to teachers and former students than we would otherwise be able to do."


BEAR CREEK:  The PTO president said, "Although the principal preferred having a PTA since that is what was used at her former school in Spring Branch ISD, the parents wanted PTO.  We currently give three to five $100 scholarships to the teachers at Bear Creek."


CIMARRON:  The PTO president said, "They organized as a PTO because there was a lack of funds at the beginning, and they wanted and needed all of their money. We like being a PTO."


HUTSELL:  The PTO president said, "We were originally a PTA.  When Williamsburg was started and took half of the students, they couldn't find officers, so there was no PTA here for one year.  The next year we put the issue to a vote and became a PTO.  In the past we had not used PTA resources and couldn't see paying for them.  Parents are not that involved unless there is a major issue, but they are getting to be more interested since we have become a PTO.  We have good support from the principal."



The president of the PTO said, "We have been a PTO for as long as anyone can remember.  Our former principal was strong on PTO.  The parents here are really mostly concerned with their school. Continuing she said, "Our children are more important than getting legislative information."  Parents donate more time because we are a PTO instead of a PTA.  Even our dads work."



The principal very much preferred PTO because she "had seen the benefits of the teacher scholarships and workshops that had been provided by the PTO at her old school (Katy Elementary).  There was a controversy over whether to be a PTA or a PTO, so they compromised with a PTG."  Continuing she said, "What are we really here for?  To help our children. It is a question of priorities.  In this small district, we can't take advantage of PTA.  So far, even though our school is new this year, we have had a carnival, a book fair, and we are already spending our money on the kids."



The PTA president said, "The principal is very pro-PTA.  She believes that PTA offers great benefits.  She mentioned drug and alcohol programs, the PTA lobbyists, that are funded with PTA dues,  that go the state legislature and the national Congress sessions"



The PTA president said that the principal "is very pro-PTA, and there was no input from the parents [about whether to be a PTA or a PTO]. Most parents do not see the sense of having a PTA.  They don't get Council news. They average about five members per meeting besides those parents who are there to see their children perform.  There is a lot of apathy.  They lost money on their school supplies sales.  What we are doing as a PTA is no different than what we would do as a PTO."  [Except for the loss of funds.]



The principal said, "We are a PTO but we used to be a PTA.  Parents questioned the money that was being sent to the national  organization.  The PTA had slacked off sending us any materials, or they wanted subscription fees for things we thought should be provided by the dues.  PTO gives us more flexibility to organize and allows us to construct by-laws and an organization that better fits our own school.  [The PTA will not allow member schools to alter the PTA By Laws.]



The PTO president said, "PTA is wonderful if you are in the right area, but our district is set up such that all of the activities take place in the northern part of Harris County, and there is no support in our area.  All of the workshops are too far away to attend.  Our parents cannot be gone from home for the amount of time necessary to attend.  They are completely happy with PTO."

She offered the opinion that "Sundown would become a PTO immediately if the principal would allow it."


She suggested that "PTO is like being non-union:  PTO  does all the work and PTO gets all the same benefits [as those of the PTA]."



I then constructed a questionnaire that I handed out at the next meeting.  You can bet "they" didn't like it one bit.  The next thing I know, a "special meeting" was called to discuss this matter, and here came the honchos from the County PTA.  The County PTA officers joined with the principal and the PTA president, who both cried, and caused us to be unsuccessful.  How does one counter tears?


                                       QUESTIONNAIRE REGARDING CHANGING FROM A PTA TO A PTO

This questionnaire was constructed with the express purpose of getting the person filling it out to think about what is important to her, to her child, and to her community with reference to her participation in a parent-teacher organization.

The phrase "this year" refers to the 1983-1984 school year.

_____Yes _____No 1. Do you know why Nottingham Country Elementary is a PTA school?

_____Yes _____No 2. Did you know that $1,088.70 has been spent on PTA dues, the State of Texas convention meeting expenses and life memberships so far this year?

_____Yes _____No 3. Did you know that $1,545.00 has been budgeted for these expenses for this year?

_____Yes _____No 4. Did you know that it is necessary to sell 6,667 cokes at 30 cents apiece (assuming a 50% profit) in order to earn just $1,000?

_____Yes _____No 5. Considering the number of PTA and PTSA groups in the United States (6,000,000 individual members) that contribute $1,000.00 (approximately) to the state and national PTA (or $6,600,000), do you feel that your benefits are proportional to the money spent?

_____Yes _____No 6. Assuming your child has been in elementary school for six years and that the total approximate amount of money given for PTA organizational purposes (whether at NCE or elsewhere) has been $9,000.00 over that time period, do you feel that your child has received a proportional benefit from that expenditure?

_____Yes _____No 7. Do you feel that contributing 23% of Nottingham Country Elementary's spendable income ($6,802.62) is "not that much"?

_____Yes _____No 8. Does belonging to the "largest child advocacy group" have any direct benefit for your child? If "yes," please explain. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________



_____Yes _____No 9. Have PTA lobbyists provided your child with any specific benefits? If "yes," please explain. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________



_____Yes _____No 10. Did the PTA stop the Nottingham Country Club (a private club for Nottingham Country residents ( with a membership of 1,200 adults) from establishing an open bar for members and guests within 1,000 feet of the front door of Nottingham Country Elementary? (The bar is now open to the general public.)

_____Yes _____No 11. Have YOU received any legislative information from PTA this school year? If "yes," please describe the information.____________________________________________________________________________________________



_____Yes _____No If you received information, was it useful to you or your child? If "yes," please explain. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________



_____Yes _____No Has your Legislative Chairman given any legislative reports this year? (I was the Legislative Chairman, and the President never asked for a report, and I never gave one.)

_____Yes _____No 12. Do you know what programs the PTA is lobbying for this year?

_____Yes _____No 13. Did you know how your representatives to the PTA state convention voted for you on the issue of federal aid to private education?

_____Yes _____No 14. If "yes" to No. 13, were you asked prior to their vote for your opinion?

_____Yes  _____No 15. Do you know what the PTA's State Legislative Action (which was approved at the state convention) contains?

_____Yes  _____No 16. Did filling in the blanks of the booklet entitled "Texas PTA Leadership Course" last September make you a better leader?

_____Yes  _____No 17. Having filled in all those blanks, do you remember any of the information that you wrote down?

_____Yes  _____No 18. Do you believe that PTA has anything at all to do with whether or not you are a "leader"?  To find the answers to fill in the empty blanks in this booklet, did you consult your by-laws and other PTA literature, _________ or did you copy your answers from the answers given in the back of the booklet? __________

_____Yes  _____No 19.  Have you seen a copy of the PTA Communicator this year?

_____Yes  _____No 20. If you are the president or have been the president of our PTA, has Superintendent Brown called on you (to the exclusion of the PTO presidents) for parent-teacher information?  If yes, please recount the conversation and the date of the call.____________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____Yes  _____No 21. Did you attend the PTA State Convention this year? If "yes," please list the specific benefits derived for our children from your attendance at this convention.  __________________________________________________________________

_____Yes  _____No 22. Have you seen or used any of the ten/twelve program kits available from PTA?  If "yes," please list them.___________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                  23. Other than providing sample by-laws (which are also available in Robert's Rules of Order pp. 10-13) and suggestions for activities, what other unique value does the central organization of PTA provide?

_____Yes  _____No 24. Have you read the NCE PTA By-Laws this year?  If "yes," why did you consult them? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____Yes  _____No 25. Do you know how many PTA (District, State or National) scholarships were given to KISD students last year?

{The answer was one.]