QUESTION:What constitutes a PTA event? We know we have some big ones, like grade level outings and the fall family dance. What about events like 5th grade mom’s coffee chat at the local coffee shop? We do not financially support the event -- all we do is advertise it in the newsletter. It is organized by the PTA 5th grade coordinator, but does everything organized by these groups need to be covered by the PTA’s insurance? Do all of these events need to be approved by the board in order to be covered by insurance?
ANSWER: A PTA-sponsored activity is one that is directed and supervised by the PTA. In order to be directed and supervised by the PTA, the PTA must have:
(1) executed the contract;
(2) created, planned and implemented the activity;
(3) provided the majority of staffing; and
(4) formally voted to authorize the event.
For a PTA event, general liability insurance covers PTA members and volunteers against claims by third persons for damage to property or for personal injuries incurred at PTA-sponsored activities, including bazaars, carnivals, movies, dinners, open houses, meetings, after-prom parties, senior parties, skating parties, after-school classes and more. In this instance the board of directors should approve the parameters of the activity. Any financial component would be approved by the general membership through the budget. We suggest that a PTA contact their insurance company to confirm whether an event is covered.
If any of the above components is missing it is likely that it is not a PTA event. If it is not a PTA event than the PTA insurance does not cover the activity. It is important that the board know whose insurance is covering the event and discuss the level of support and the ramifications of supporting the event. The best practice is to make sure that all communications out to your members and the community are very clear about who is “in charge” of any event – i.e. the PTA, the school, the ASB, etc.