Saturday, March 31, 2012

Regarding Voting Delegates to Convention

Our local PTA has funding to send three people to the Washington State PTA Convention, but we’re only eligible for two delegate positions. One of the three who will be attending is also a member of another  PTA, which only has funding to send one person, even though they are eligible to send two delegates. Is it permissible for our ‘third’ representative to be a delegate for the ‘second’ PTA, even though they are not paying for the person’s expenses to attend the convention?

The Washington State PTA Uniform Bylaws leave it to local units and councils to decide who will be their delegates, and while it’s typical that the registration fee and other expenses are paid by the unit or council being represented, there’s no requirement to that effect. So yes, your ‘third’ representative can serve as a delegate on behalf of the ‘second’ PTA, assuming of course that the ‘second’ PTA wants that person to represent it. Assuming the answer to that question is yes, the delegate will have to remember that s/he must cast any votes consistent with that PTA’s desires, notwithstanding that another PTA is paying her/his way.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How many people can the nominating committee nominate for a position?

I am chair of the Nominating Committee for our local unit.  We have two well-qualified candidates for one of the open positions.  I read in the Nominating Committee section of the Leadership Packet that the Nominating Committee is supposed to select the “best qualified candidate(s) for each position.”  Doesn’t that mean that we should only nominate one person, given that both of them can’t be the “best” candidate? 

You are correct that the language of the Leadership Packet may be subject to two interpretations, but the Uniform Bylaws are very explicit on this point:  Article 5, Section 5(b) provides that “The nominating committee shall submit to the membership . . .  the name of one (1) or more candidates for each office to be filled.”  Therefore your committee can put both forward both names for the position, and leave the decision to the members.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Can we grant money/supplies directly to our school?

We’ve been told that we shouldn’t grant equipment or supplies directly to the school but instead to should make a grant of money to the school district for use to purchase the equipment or supplies.  I looked in the bylaws and couldn’t find any such prohibition, but if this is true, how can we be sure that the school district will use the funds in the manner we intend them to be used.

There is no bylaw addressing this issue; rather what you have described is recommended best practice, based on several considerations.  First, by selecting the equipment the PTA may retain some liability in the case that someone is injured using the equipment.  Second there may be a question in the future as to whether the PTA is also responsible for maintaining the equipment.  Third, the district may have legitimate reasons to want to make sure that the equipment meets its standards for compatibility, safety, etc.  For these reasons, it is best practice to make a grant of funds to the school district, because the school is not a legal entity that is separate from the school district.  To make sure the funds are going to be used as you want them to be used, you can make a restricted grant of funds that can only be used for the specific purposes set forth in the grant document.  You can find a form that can be used to make a restricted grant in the Money Matters section of the Leadership Packet that your local unit received last fall. A copy of Money Matters is also available online under the Leadership Resources tab of the Washington State PTA website (user name and password are provided in your Leadership Packet.)