Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find an answer? Please Contact Us
General PTA FAQs

Given the longevity and universal name recognition of our organization, it's easy to understand how "PTA" is commonly used to describe all parent groups, whether or not they are actually affiliated with PTA. Parents, teachers, and even administrators are frequently confused or even unaware of the differences between PTA and other parent organizations.

Simply put, PTA is the nation's original parent group in schools, influencing millions of parents, past and present, to get involved in their children's education. We are a national, nonprofit organization; neither the organization nor its leaders receive any financial benefit from PTA activities. We are composed of 5.5 million volunteers in 23,094 local units. We are run by volunteers and led by volunteers, and we are accountable to parents and schools. We give parents what they want—a way to help their children succeed.

PTA is an inclusive organization that is open to all adults who care about children and schools.

We have learned that the main thing parents want from schools is to help their child succeed academically, emotionally, and personally. PTA bridges the connection between homes and schools. By getting involved with PTA, the child who benefits most is one's own.

We reach out to diverse communities to allow parents to more fully integrate their children into the life of a school. We actively invite all parents to be involved in their children's education through participation in PTA. We work hard to bring mothers, fathers, teachers, school administrators, grandparents, mentors, foster parents, other caregivers, and community leaders into the association.

Subject Matter Expert:

  • Felicia Bailey, Diversity & Inclusion Chairman
  • Marketing Committee Chair: Please Contact The State Office If You Are Interested In Becoming The Marketing Committee Chair.

Generic Local Unit Bylaws:

Article III: Purposes of PTA

Article IV: Basic Policies of PTA

  • membership
  • local units

 

PTA programs are created to encourage and support parent involvement in children's education. Our programs are created with leading expert organizations on topics of importance to our members, at the members' request. The programs are user-friendly and are free to local PTAs. Within each of the programs offered, there are interesting activities, helpful evaluation tools, and tips to involve all the key players in a school community. No other parent group offers such credible and comprehensive programs to successfully engage families and communities.

Our programs help connect parents to schools and help them recognize their achievements.

Local Unit Resource Guide (LURG):

  • Section 6: Standing Committees
  • Section 7: Awards, Grants and Programs
    • pta programs

Our members pay dues that include a small portion for the state and national offices. In return, local PTAs and members receive access to many valuable resources, information, grants and training programs.

As a local affiliate of a national organization, local PTAs may be eligible for discounted insurance for special events that are not covered by the school insurance. Non-PTA parent groups usually must purchase more expensive insurance policies to cover special events and liabilities or leave their members at risk.

Numerous benefits are available to dues-paying units and members. For dues payments, local units have access to financial, legislative, membership, leadership, marketing and public relations resources (also available online), subscription to Our Children magazine which includes a legislative section and reproducible newsletter in English and Spanish; electronic newsletters containing leadership tips; professionally designed public service announcements (PSAs) to aid in membership recruitment; leadership training workshops and e-learning opportunities; back-to-school kit containing recruitment ideas, and other materials to get the year started; Teacher Appreciation Week ideas; numerous mailings on parent involvement programs, fundraising, and working collaboratively; and much more.

When PTA gets involved, children benefit. When a member gets involved in PTA, his/her child benefits most. Great benefits of PTA membership for individual members include online resources including Our Children magazine that are full of parenting tips; electronic newsletters to keep you informed on parenting and legislative issues; special discounts and offers from Hertz, Office Max, Sharp and many more; leadership training, such as electronic courses, annual convention, and leadership workshops; and much more.

Local Unit Resource Guide (LURG):

Section 7: Awards, Grants and Programs

Generic Local Unit Bylaws:

Article III: Purposes of PTA

  • member benefits
  • dues
  • local unit benefits

All parent groups have a local component—a way for passionate, dedicated parents to get involved in K–12 schools. Many of the other groups, however, focus solely on fundraising. In fact, some parent organizations are actually owned and operated by privately held for-profit businesses, making these organizations driven more by profits than children.

While fundraising for items not covered by school budgets is an important component for school groups, we know that parents are interested and concerned in other school issues as well. In contrast to other parent groups, PTA parents have a broader role to play beyond fundraising in the education of their children.

Parents who are knowledgeable about the issues that impact schools and student achievement can more effectively participate in local and district school decisions, and can speak up that our legislators need to allocate more funds for public schools.

We at PTA know that advocacy works. If our members choose to get involved by working on issues that impact their children and schools, they receive the information and training they need to work effectively at the local, state, and national levels for school funding, school construction, school safety, high-quality teachers, high nutrition standards in school lunch programs, after-school programs, and more. These efforts benefit all children, including those whose parents are members of non-PTA parent groups.

PTA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Other independent parent groups must either complete a complicated process to file for tax-exempt status on their own, or must file taxes on all revenues received.

Each of the 23,094 local units throughout the United States and Territories selects the programs and activities that it will undertake to address the needs of its local school and children. While PTA's national and state offices create many successful programs for local units to use, there are no PTA-mandated programs.

State and National PTA provide support to help the local PTAs succeed. For example, when working on local issues such as changing an intersection to make it safer, upgrading school water taps to remove the threat of lead contamination, enhancing reading standards, or other school or district concerns, PTA is a welcome resource. In most cases, we have probably seen the same challenges elsewhere in the country. We therefore can advise local PTAs on the best practices observed, issues surrounding the problem and the outcome, as well as provide them contact information for additional details.

PTA believes the core value of a parent is more important than only serving as a fundraiser. Fundraising is a means to carry out the goals and work of PTA. Fundraising events provide a valuable service and involve more parents in the school.

Local Leadership Resources:  Fundraising is a guide from the National PTA that is filled with ideas, suggestions, success stories, resources, and more to help PTAs organize fundraising activities, and at the same time, to support parent involvement initiatives.

The Field Service Training Team, headed by the Extension Chair, can assist with training needs for districts, councils and local units.

The team has developed a Leadership Training section for the website. If a unit can't attend training in its particular area, the unit has the option to attend in another.

Did you know the Virginia PTA has seven National PTA TCBI trainers?

Training programs ready to go include:

  • Membership Recruitment
  • Leadership Skills
  • Preventing Theft in your PTA
  • Cultural Competency
  • First Things First – Officer Quick Start Program

In addition:

  • TCBI trainers can develop a training program to fit the needs of a local unit
  • Trainers can assist any Committee Chair or Officer with their presentation
  • One TCBI Trainer is able to conduct Community Forums using the National Issues Forums
  • Anne Carson, TCBI, Tier 2, is great for Leg/Ed Conferences or Convention
  • The Virginia PTA trainers have connections to TCBI trainers all over the United States and frequently share materials.

In addition, there are other training options:

  • Attend the Leadership Training Conference in July where training sessions will be offered according to the role of the member (Treasurer, President, etc.)
  • Contact their district director, who can offer the following assistance:
    • Provide various training documents
    • Attend the local unit planning session where he or she can actually go over the various training documents with the board members
    • Enroll the individual in a Leadership Training Workshop (LTW), which is held by the district director twice each year, generally in the spring and the fall Some districts will, by request, actually provide one-on-one training with board members through their mobile training units
    • Most districts also offer a special workshop, Audit Pool Workshop

A local PTA/PTSA in good standing is one which:

  • Adheres to the Purposes and basic policies of the PTA;
  • Remits the state and national portion of dues to the Virginia PTA/PTSA by dates designated in these bylaws;
  • Has bylaws approved according to the procedures of the Virginia PTA;
  • Submits local unit officers form and verification of local unit’s employer identification number (EIN) to the state office immediately upon election of officers and no later than June 15 annually;
  • Forwards to the state office each year upon completion a copy of their Form 990N, 990, or 990EZ as required per IRS regulations; and
  • Meets other criteria as may be prescribed by the Virginia PTA

Each member of your board is bound by their Fiduciary Responsibility. Part of this responsibility is a duty of loyalty. This means they are bound to support board action even if they disagree.

The only option available to a board member should they desire to change something that has been voted on is to make a motion to reconsider the original motion. They then have to provide additional information that was not considered during the first discussion.

Keep in mind that you cannot just ask to reconsider something because you disagree with the vote taken.

The board would then have to vote to reconsider—majority rules.

  1. After the bylaws have been approved with the name change, a copy of the minutes with the approved name change, signed by two officers and dated needs to be mailed to: IRS, Attn: EO Entity, MS 6276, Odgen, UT 84201 or you can fax them to 801-620-3449 if that number is busy you can try 801-620-3263. They will send a letter in a couple of weeks letting you know that they have received and changed your name.

  2. Once you receive the IRS letter stating that your name has been changed you need to send a request to the Virginia Department of Taxation requesting your name to be changed with the state. Send them a copy of the IRS letter and your letter to Virginia Department of Taxation, Non-Profit Exemption Team, P.O. Box 27125, Richmond, VA 23261-7125 or fax it to 804-786-2645. Make sure you include in your letter as much detail as possible.

  3. Once you receive your IRS letter please send a copy to the state office attention, Bookkeeper/Accountant. She needs this information for her year end IRS report that she files for local units.

Any PTA member can attend an Executive Board meeting of their Local Unit PTA. They can be acknowledged with a courtesy seat, but have no vote at the meeting. The Executive Committee meetings, where local unit officers only meet, would not be open to PTA members.

Your PTA unit should notify all members of the date, time and location of all Executive Board Meetings.

The bylaws dictate how the local unit and its leaders must conduct association business. Local unit leadership has the fiduciary responsibility of protecting the assets of their individual associations. When a local unit discovers the appearance of financial misconduct and notifies Virginia PTA of this concern, Virginia PTA advises them as to the following steps that the local unit leadership must take to try to address the situation.

The unit must:

  • Notify the State Office of possible misconduct, so that the State Office can notify the district director and the council, if applicable. This provides a local team of experienced district and council PTA volunteers to advise and assist the local unit whenever and wherever possible.
  • Confiscate all financial records in order to do a complete audit to determine if concerns are valid.
  • Immediately contact its bonding insurance carrier as to the carrier’s requirements and to ensure and/or verify coverage.

Each year, PTAs must apply for and obtain a Unit Verification Letter from the Virginia PTA in order to receive a group exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code granted to the Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers by the Internal Revenue Service in 1986.

This group exemption exempts the unit from paying federal income tax on money earned for use in its programs. This exemption may also be extended to any donors who may wish to deduct contributions to the local unit – refer to the Internal Revenue Code for specific information about donor deductions.

Local units will also need a 501(c)(3) IRS Determination Letter in order to obtain an exemption from paying Virginia sales tax. Obtaining this letter from the Virginia PTA is just the first step in the process to receiving an exemption from Virginia sales tax. The next step is to apply for and obtain a Virginia Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption Letter from the Commonwealth of Virginia. PTAs can obtain this letter by completing an on-line application at www.npo-tax.virginia.gov. Specific instructions on the information that a unit will need to provide during the application process can be found in the Local Unit Resource Guide, but we have also included that information below for your reference.

Non-profit law in Virginia requires that each non-profit conduct an end of fiscal year audit. Virginia PTA requires that a local unit submit a copy of its annual adopted audit to the State Office in order to receive a 501(c)(3) Determination Letter. A local unit needs this letter to receive Virginia sales tax exemption and to be eligible to accept donations/contributions from individuals and organizations. It is the responsibility of the elected officers of each PTA association to conduct this audit as prescribed in the bylaws of the association.

The State Office does not store insurance records in its files for local units. Most PTAs in Virginia use RV Nuccio, Inc.

A local unit is responsible for obtaining their own insurance for the protection of the assets of their association. State PTA coverage is limited to the Virginia PTA Board of Managers, employees, property and events of the Virginia PTA.

Most local units in Virginia use RV Nuccio & Associates for their insurance coverage.

NOTE: Sometimes, PTAs (local units) encounter embezzlement. When a local unit suspects embezzlement, the local unit should immediately contact the State Office for guidance and assistance.

The Virginia PTA Local Unit Resource Guide contains an entire section on "Financial Management" which includes a sub-section on what to do when you suspect missing funds as well as the need to have insurance coverage for the unit. National PTA does the same through their quick reference guide, "PTA Money Matters" and in their trainings. These materials are sent to PTA units every year.

Training sessions are offered by Virginia PTA generally twice a year. This is in addition to trainings offered through the 21 districts and various councils.

No matter how many accounts a local unit has, the treasurer is responsible for all funds of the local unit. It is not acceptable for any PTA to have an autonomous committee, or allows anyone to use its 501(c)(3) determination letter or its EIN. If a committee is part of the PTA, then the funds belong to the PTA and are counted towards its gross receipts. ALL BOARD MEMBERS, not just the treasurer, have fiduciary responsibility for the financial position of the PTA.