Saturday, May 21, 2011

Can we have a multi-year contact (ie., yearbook)?

I understand that the Board of a local unit or council cannot make an obligation that extends beyond  the current fiscal year, because next year’s Board may want to do something different.  But what if you have an opportunity to save a lot of money by engaging in a multi-year contract, such as contracting for website hosting or a multi-year contract for production of a yearbook

You are correct that the Uniform Bylaws do place limits on a Board of Directors’ authority to commit the PTA or Council beyond the current fiscal year, but that limitation does not apply to the membership.   

Article 5, Section 2(b) of the Uniform Bylaws reads as follows: A PTA/PTSA local unit shall not enter into any financial obligations extending beyond the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) except as approved by the general membership. The organization shall operate in a fiscally responsible and appropriate manner. (emphasis added)

Given this language the answer is to take the “good deal” to the general membership for approval.  If there’s a time limit that precludes a prior approval by vote of the general membership (e.g. the vendor says “to get this reduced rate you have to sign today”), I’d recommend the officers add “subject to approval of general membership” to their signature, and then take it to the general membership at the next opportunity.  If it’s really a good deal, there is little risk that the general membership will not approve it, and if the vendor isn’t willing to accept this condition, then maybe it’s not such a good deal after all.