Friday, January 31, 2014

Washington Safety Summit

The Washington Safety Summit, hosted by Safe Kids Pierce County and the Washington Public Fire Educators, will be held on Wednesday, March 26 at 9:30 am – 4:30 pm at the University of Washington Tacoma.  It will focus on media and public information, injury prevention, child passenger safety, and juvenile firesetting.  The cost of registration, which includes lunch, is $100 per person if completed by March 7. After March 7 the cost increases to $150. Registration is available here.

Register for Focus Day

We invite you to join PTA advocates from across the state for WSPTA’s annual Legislative Focus Day in Olympia on February 4, 2014 from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. For a schedule of events, click here. Although this is a free event (boxed lunches are available for an additional charge), we ask you to please register so we know how many people to plan for in preparing for this event. Kids are welcome too.  Register today!

Statewide Elections Self-Declare Deadline Approaching

The deadline date to self-declare candidacy for the statewide positions of Secretary, Finance Officer, Leadership Director, Outreach Director and Program Director is February 7. Any qualified person wishing to self-declare as an at-large WSPTA nominating committee candidate must submit a Declaration of Good Faith form by February 15. For information on the statewide elections, which will take place at the WSPTA Annual Convention at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel on April 25-27, click here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

100% Membership Award

The prestigious 100% Membership award is given to local units who have one paid PTA membership for every child enrolled in the school associated with that local unit. Local units must apply for this award. Click here to download award application. 

Punting For Hunger: A Challenge from North Tapps Middle School PTSA

The Seahawks have a community outreach challenge for this week leading up to the Super Bowl.  They have shared the following information with all Washington School Districts.  North Tapps Middle School PTSA is helping our school take this challenge.  We thought other PTA/PTSA groups might like to get involved and help their schools take the challenge.  It is our goal at NTMS to have a successful food drive but to also help spread the word so all food banks in Washington benefit from this challenge.  For more information, click here.

Seattle Seahawks Local School Fundraiser Official Super Bowl XLVIII Program Order Deadline Extended!

***ORDER DEADLINE EXTENDED*** 
(Orders being accepted up until kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday!)

Thank you to the PTAs who have decided to engage in the Fundraiser! So far, Washington State PTAs have raised over $17,500 for their local PTAs!

Due to the interest and questions raised to conduct this fundraisers, orders placed on or after January 28 will be shipped AFTER THE GAME (week of February 3). And if the Seahawks win on Sunday, there will be one-of-a kind 'Seattle Seahawks World Champions' Fatheads (wall decals) and souvenir Super Bowl game programs available for your school to sell. (According to GameTime Fundraisers, who are running this fundraising campaign for WSPTA local units, last year, schools raised thousands of dollars AFTER the game due to the excitement generated from their team, being Super Bowl Champs).
There is still plenty of time to take advantage of this Super Bowl fundraiser!  Let's go raise $$$$ for our kids!

If you have any questions, please email katie@gametimefundraisers.com.

Upcoming Award Deadlines


  •  March 1 -- Program Awards (Standards of Excellence, Honor Unit, Communication, Mentor-A-PTA Award, Outstanding Local Unit of the Year, Outstanding Newsletter, Outstanding Website, PTAs Taking Significant Action);  Applications are available on the website here
  • March 1  -- Leadership Academy Application; application here
  • March 1 -- Outreach Champion Award; application here
  • March 1 -- State PTA Outstanding Service Award; application here
  • March 1  -- 100% Membership Award; application here
  • March 1  -- PTA Men Essay Contest; application here
  • April 1  -- Statewide Awards (Outstanding Educator Award, Honorary Life Membership Award, Friend of Children Award); application here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Question of the Week

QUESTION:   
We just finished our annual book fair and instead of receiving our $5,000 in earnings in cash, our PTA has opted to receive it as credit with the book fair company.  A small portion of the receivable ($450) expires in 6 months, the remaining $4,500 never expires.  We anticipate using the credit over the next three years.  How do we record this asset in our books?

ANSWER:   
I would recommend setting up something on your monthly treasurer's report to show the Scholastic credit as if it were a designated fund, showing the initial amount of the credit, the amount "spent" to date and the balance.  In addition you should add a recurring footnote indicating amount of credit given, amount spent, amount remaining, the expiration date and the plan you have in place for spending the credits, for example, "The PTA will donate 150 credits to the school library each school year from 2013-14 to 2015-16." 

On the final footnoted report you would indicate that the credit has been used fully and there will no longer be a footnote attached to the financials.  If it carries from one budget cycle to the next, you would want to add a footnote to the new budget indicating the remainder of the credit to be spent again noting the beginning credit, amount spent in previous year and the amount remaining.

By keeping this information on your treasurer’s report, it will help to make sure that this account is not forgotten as volunteer leaders transition in and out as well as be a true accounting of your PTA’s assets.

Washington State PTA Invites Students to Enter "PTA Men" Essay Contest

Men make a difference in the lives of the children they care about, and children are more successful in and out of school when they have the guidance of an involved male role model—a father, grandfather, uncle, brother, step-father, teacher, mentor, neighbor, pastor/priest, coach or friend. The WSPTA invites students to write an essay no more than 650 words describing this vital relationship from their perspectives. The deadline date is March 1, 2014. For more information and a registration form, click here.

Partnership With Verizon/ETrak

Verizon/eTrak, a new affinity partner with the WSPTA, which offers parents a device to help keep their kids safe, has announced a new pricing schedule for their service. PTA parents get the GPS location tracking system with a personal alert button a child can push if he/she gets lost, has an accident or perceives danger or only $199; the offer includes the device plus one year of service with no monthly fee! Plus the WSPTA, National PTA and local PTAs all receive donations for each subscription purchased! For a flyer to give to your members, click here. More information is available at http://etrak.com/pta/.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gold Level Membership Award Recipients Announced

Congratulations Gold Level Membership recipients! Click to see a list of the PTAs who successfully achieved a 10% increase of the previous year's membership enrolled by January 25th: Gold Membership Award Recipients. Thank you for your hard work and effort!

National TV Safety Day

With the Super Bowl right around the corner and millions of families tuning in, there’s no better time to learn how to protect kids from TV tip-overs. That’s why we’re excited to announce National TV Safety Day is Sunday, February 2, 2014. Please, take a few minutes to do a quick check of your home to make sure all TVs are safely secured. Go to the WSPTA website for more information. http://www.wastatepta.org/files/TV_Safety_Day.pdf

Discounts on College Preparation and Planning Tools Offered to PTA Members

National PTA® and Rewarding Student Commitment (RSC) are pleased to announce a partnership to empower families with important resources to help them navigate the college application process. Through the partnership, PTA members have access to expert guidance and exclusive discounts on RSC’s college preparation and financial aid services. For more information on the resources and services available to PTA members through RSC, visit www.PTA.org/benefits.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Legislature in Session, PTA in Action

As you know, the Washington State Legislature is in session, and we have our Legislative/Advocacy Consultant in Olympia, keeping up with bills, providing expertise in how the Legislature works, and ensuring that we provide written and oral testimony when needed. Additionally, to support our issues and platform, every Wednesday evening, your Region Legislative Committee (RLC), works in committee to provide input on which bills are to be watched, supported, and/or to have someone testify on behalf of the issue. (They are putting in lots of volunteer hours to provide this support and guidance, so if you have questions, please contact your RLC, or Region Director).

Additionally, an “E-Wire” with information for members from our Leg/Advocacy consultant, is provided as issues and information arises, the E-Wire, is placed on the grassroots blog, and Facebook. And, we have started an Advocacy Listserv to support members in Advocacy Leadership positions, to have a forum to discuss good ideas, ask questions that are specific to legislative issues, etc. Because it is new, we are working out the “kinks” and it should be back up, and running within the next few days. This is a quick synopsis of what we are doing to enhance the legislative experience for members, and to support local advocacy for members on behalf of children, we SINCERELY APPRECIATE your support and ideas.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Secretary of State Charitable Solicitations Training Available

The Secretary of State’s office is holding a training for nonprofit boards on January 31, 2014 from 9 am – 4:00 pm in Bellingham. The cost to attend this training is $10, which includes lunch. Register here.Some of the topics for this presentation include:
  • What is Governance?
  • The Law of Nonprofit Governance
  • A Traditional Model of Nonprofit Governance
  • Strategies for Improving Your Board
  • Assessing Your Board's Effectiveness

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Save the Date - Convention

Be sure to mark April 25-27, 2014 on your calendar for the WSPTA Convention at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. Convention is the place where PTA leaders go to be inspired, learn the skills to be effective leaders and advocates, and network with other members, to make a difference in communities across our state and nation.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Annual Washington State Department of Revenue Excise Tax Form

The due date to file the Annual 2013 Washington State Department of Revenue excise tax return is January 31, 2014. The electronic return is available by going to http://dor.wa.gov/. For current information about tax changes and Department programs, sign up for our General Information listserv at http://dor.wa.gov/listserv. If you need to contact the Department of Revenue, please e-mail elfreg@dor.wa.gov.

Question of the Week

QUESTION:    
I am a PTA member and currently working on the “yes” campaign for our local school levies. Can PTAs (legally) provide the “yes” campaign with an electronic list of their members for the sole purpose of making phone lists to remind PTA members to turn their ballot into the drop box?

ANSWER:  
PTA members who are phone banking for any campaign committee may NOT use PTA lists (their personal list of member phone numbers or a membership directory).  This includes reminding people to return their ballots.  The levy/bond committee cannot use PTA member lists, lists must be generated outside of PTA.

PTA must comply with the laws that allow us to have/keep our tax exempt non-profit status with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.  In addition to the IRS, there are rules that must be followed under the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.  If anyone provides a list of names to a campaign, the value of the list must be reported as a campaign contribution.

Campaigns of any sort, usually purchase lists from companies like Labels & Lists to make campaign contact.  Labels & Lists can work with you to help identify your targeted voters.

Other ways to remind parents to vote is to post "school election, remember to vote" or "school election, February 11" on your reader board or have a sign waving during drop off and pick up reminding people to vote.  If you are on school property, you may not say “vote yes” or “vote for the levy/bond.”  You can only do this off school property or when you have a facilities use permit (during a meeting). These are rules under the Public Disclosure Commission which restrict the use of public resources in elections. 

Register For Focus Day

We invite you to join PTA advocates from across the state for WSPTA’s annual Legislative Focus Day in Olympia on February 4, 2014 from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. For a schedule of events, click here. Although this is a free event (boxed lunches are available for an additional charge), we ask you to please register so we know how many people to plan for in preparing for this event. Kids are welcome too.  Register today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grassroots Connection Blog

The WSPTA legislative team will keep you up-to-date on legislative news, progress, issues and supporting research through the Grassroots Connection Blog. This blog will be updated weekly with information on the legislative session.  The blog is always available through the WSPTA website on the advocacy page.  Once you go to the blog page, you will also notice there is an option to sign up to follow the blog by email.

Individuals may post comments under any blog post.  Comments must be relevant to the subject matter and must also be courteous, informative, and respectful.  The blog will contain historical blog posts and is searchable.  For example, if you would like to search for content on Basic Education Funding, enter those key words and you will see the related blog posts.

If you would like to see specific content addressed that you cannot find on the blog, you may submit a request or an article to Sherry Krainick, Legislative Director at ptalegdir@wastatepta.org.

WSPTA's Short-Term Legislative Platform

Our Top 5 and other priorities for the 2013 and 2014 state legislative sessions. Please click on links to full positions and supporting policy papers.
  1. Advance Basic Education Reforms
  2. Fund Education First
  3. Closing the Opportunity Gaps
  4. Revenue for Kids
  5. Access to Highly Effective Teachers
ALSO SUPPORTED – Listed alphabetically 
·         School Zone Signage
·         Social Emotional Learning

Supporting the PTA Legislative Program

The WSPTA Legislative Team is preparing for the 2014 Legislative Session which begins on January 13, 2014 and we need your help.   This year is the short session (60 days) which will end on March 13, 2014.  WSPTA needs volunteers to come testify on the Bills identified by our legislative team that help move our platform forward.  This is a great way to learn the legislative process in Olympia.  You will receive training on developing your message for legislators.  We are there to help you through the process which can have a large impact for children across the state.  With our collective voices we give everychild.onevoice!

Back in October of 2013, delegates from around the state met at the 2013 Legislative Assembly and Advocacy Training at Marriott Hotel in SeaTac to learn about issues that impact children around the state and to add supported issues to our platform.  The Top Five issues from the 2012 Legislative Assembly remain the Top Five during the 2014 legislative session.  We are in the process of building the issue teams based on our Top Five.  The issue submitter teams have been contacted to work the issues through the upcoming legislative session under the direction of the legislative team.  We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the legislative process to join one or more issue teams. You will have opportunities to work with the legislative team to develop relationships with legislators over the course of the session.  In addition you can also learn to provide written or oral testimony for Senate and House committee hearings.  We will help you every step of the way. Please review the platform below and if you are interested in in joining one or more teams, please send an email to Sherry Krainick, Legislative Director at ptalegdir@wastatepta.org.

PTA: A History of Legislative Advocacy

During the early years in Washington State, PTAs helped donate money for electric lights for the schools, focused on the importance of hand washing before meals, initiated the “Summer Round-Up” to provide health screening and immunizations for school age children, and coined the term “preschool” and established pre-school local units to serve mothers of children not old enough to attend school.

In the post World War I period, problems in public education emerged including low teacher salaries, and lack of federal funds for education. As a result, Washington State PTA focused on securing more cooperation between the public school administrators, and the state and local PTAs.

Nearly every PTA across the state embarked on programs to feed and clothe children to keep them healthy and make it possible for them to stay in school during the Great Depression, establishing the beginning of the school lunch program that we know today.

Upon the legalization of liquor in 1933, the Washington State PTA helped establish laws prohibiting the possession and sale of liquor to minors, limiting the presence of minors in places where liquor was sold, and supporting tougher laws restricting drinking and driving.

During World War II, PTAs formed war emergency committees and joined with other civic, state and national groups to provide for common defense and speed the war effort. The call for women to join the workforce left many kids without care, so many PTA members volunteered at daycare centers for children of working mothers. Often PTAs helped establish these daycare centers in school buildings.

In the 1950s PTAs started hosting family fun nights, talent shows, carnivals, science fairs, school library projects, and recreational activities. During this time PTAs also focused on child safety issues, such as traffic and pedestrian safety.

During the 1960s, public kindergartens were at risk of elimination due to levy failures in major school districts across our state. Preschool PTAs pitched in and organized “emergency cooperative kindergartens” as well as supporting door-to-door campaigns in precincts that were low in favorable votes at the previous levy election. As a result, legislators passed into law tax-supported public kindergartens. Also in the 1960s, the Legislature passed the Driver’s Education Law.

In the 1970s, the WSPTA began supporting statewide advocacy programs of specific interest to its members. In 1987, three of those programs won the prestigious Presidential “C-Flag” award, as a recognition of being a national leader for outstanding contributions to the American spirit of volunteerism and community action.

More recent accomplishments of the Washington State PTA have included: passage of anti-bullying law, pesticide notification law, graduated driver’s license, education restructuring, simple majority for levy elections, and defining basic education.

As we reflect on what the Washington State PTA has accomplished over the past 100+ years, we know that we are better off because of it and we are grateful for the strong leaders who have stood before us, but we also know our work as child advocates will never be complete. It is our privilege and responsibility to be strong as we continue to advocate now and in the future for the funding of public education, and securing laws to protect the safety and well-being of children. Thank you for your volunteer commitment to this organization and to the children in Washington State.

Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grant

Mary Lou Anderson Reflections® Arts Enhancement Grant Application is available online.  The deadline is Friday, March 14, 2014 at 8:00pm EST/5:00pm PST. National PTA Reflections is America’s oldest and largest arts education program of its kind. The program was developed in 1969 by Colorado’s PTA President Mary Lou Anderson to encourage students to explore their talents and express themselves. Since then, the Reflections Program has inspired millions of students to reflect on a specific theme and create original artwork.

Region Director Ballots Mailed

Ballots have been mailed to all local unit presidents (for those who have co-presidents, they were sent to the first president listed alphabetically) in regions 2, 6, 8 and 10. Ballots are due back to the office postmarked by March 1 in order to meet the quorum required to elect a region director. Ballots were sent electronically to those units whose president opted to vote via email by January 1, 2014. The nominating committees in regions 4, 12 and 15 were unsuccessful in identifying a nominee. Anyone interested in self-declaring should contact ptavp@wastatepta.org by February 15.

Second Deadline for Membership Service Fees is January 25

All local units--both PTAs in a council and non-council units, send $8 per member (state and national membership service fees) to the State PTA office.  If your local unit is in a council with a per member fee structure you also need to submit a membership fee to your local PTA council. For more information on membership service fee remittance, click here.

Gifted Education Day in Washington

PTA members are invited to attend Gifted Education Day in (Olympia) Washington, on February 28, 2014.  The program begins at 9:10 AM at the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building. Many issues regarding the full integration of highly capable programs into basic education are still unresolved.  For more information, click here.

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl School Fundraiser

GameTime Fundraisers and the Washington State PTA is proud to offer your school the opportunity to participate in an officially sanctioned fundraiser by the NFL and National PTA.  During the Super Bowl fundraiser last year, an average of $2,000 was raised per school. (The top selling school raised over $16,500 in just one week!)

The Fundraiser: Schools can sell the official Super Bowl XLVIII game program (magazine) as part of the fundraiser (250+ pages of photos, a complete history of all previous Super Bowl games, a recap of the Seahawks season, player bios and profiles, in-depth team reports, etc.)  

The cost per program is $18.50 (including shipping & handling). $5 from the sale of every program will be contributed back to your PTA.

KEY INFORMATIONAll orders are captured on the SSL Secure Website (www.gametimefundraisers.com).  Simply enter your school name in the text field at the bottom of the checkout page to receive credit for the fundraiser. Payment is made directly by parents or friends and monies will be remitted back to your PTA late February. Programs will be delivered to each school and distributed to students, similar to a school yearbook model. There are no up-front monies or minimum order requirements.  Order deadline: Sunday, January 26 11:59 EST*

*Orders may still be placed afterwards but items are not guaranteed before Super Bowl Sunday

Self-Declare Candidacy Deadline

The deadline date to self-declare candidacy for the statewide positions of Secretary, Finance Officer, Leadership Director, Outreach Director and Program Director is February 7. Any qualified person wishing to self-declare as an at-large WSPTA nominating committee candidate must submit a Declaration of Good Faith form by February 15. For more information on the statewide elections, which will take place at the WSPTA Annual Convention at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel on April 25-27, click here.

Welcome New PTA!

Welcome to a new PTA unit, Olympia Regional Learning Academy 4.5.100! Thank you for joining us as we strive to make every child’s potential a reality. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Sales Tax Form

The Washington State Department of Revenue brought back an old form this year, which could be beneficial to local units.  This form is very simple and would replace the Combined Excise Tax Return that is due January 31, 2014. 

A local unit may file the Sales Tax Remittance Return form if it meets the following criteria:
  • Gross business activity totaled less than $28,000.
  • Owe less than $2,000 retail sales tax.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Save the Date - Convention

Be sure to mark April 25-27, 2014 on your calendar for the WSPTA Convention  at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. Convention is the place where PTA leaders go to be inspired, learn the skills to be effective leaders and advocates, to network with other members, and gain the knowledge as members of this association, to make a difference in communities across our state and nation.

Region Director Elections Coming Soon

Elections are being held for new Region Directors in Regions 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 for a two-year term from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2016.  You can find the name(s) of the candidate(s) on your region’s webpage.   Ballots will soon be mailed to all local unit presidents (for those who have co-presidents, they will be sent to the first president listed alphabetically). Ballots are due back to the office postmarked by March 1, 2014 in pre-addressed envelopes included with the ballots. Ballots will be sent electronically to those units whose president opted to vote via email by January 1, 2014. The WSPTA is still seeking region director nominations for regions 4, 12 and 15.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Leadership Spotlight - Linda Hanson

Why did you join PTA?

When one of the most well-liked moms at my daughter’s school asked me to become a member of PTA, I joined to get to know my daughter’s friends and their parents and the teachers at the school. I knew that being involved in my daughter’s education was important.

How did you progress from being a PTA member to Washington State PTA president?

A few years after becoming a member, the PTA at my daughter’s school was experiencing some difficulties in finding people willing to serve on the board of directors. At that point, I offered to serve as co-president, but wasn’t planning to ever stand up and talk at a general meeting.  As a co-president, I received the training offered by the State PA and my eyes were opened about the potential of the PTA to work with the district, community and state to achieve great things for kids. I started to attend council meetings and had a greater desire to learn and grow as a PTA leader. The PTA region director must have recognized my enthusiasm because she asked me if I would be willing to participate on the region service delivery team. The goals of this team is to education and assist over 140 PTAs units in our region. I was surprised how much I actually learned about PTA and leadership by attending region conferences, council trainings and our state legislative assemblies and conventions. I was able share my experiences and lessons learned with others to help them succeed!

After serving on the service delivery team, I was nominated and elected region director and became a member of the Washington State PTA board of directors. At this point, the bigger picture of PTA was clear—no other organization represents the whole child, parent engagement, advocacy, programs, health, safety, welfare, and education – than PTA.  Following my term as region director, I was elected state leadership director. This gave me an opportunity to shape the leadership development the state PTA offers our PTA members and leaders. This position helped prepare me for my next position in state PTA leadership—state PTA president, which was such an honor and privilege!

How has your PTA training and experience helped you in your professional development?

No other organization trains members and leaders the same way we do in PTA. The skills we learn carries over into our parenting, marriages, friendships, and other board service in our community. The skills we learn in PTA carries over into career opportunities we never dreamed about pursuing. What we learn in PTA through classes, conferences, each other, and being on the ground in our schools are life skills. PTA helped me become a better person and is a gift I will forever cherish.
 The knowledge and skills I gained through PTA has personally has made a significant impact on my professional life. After my presidency for WSPTA I started a consulting firm. I now train other nonprofit boards on boardsmanship, leadership development, strategic planning, nonprofit law, best practices, conflict resolution, and advocacy legislative work. All of these skills I learned through PTA.

Why do you continue to volunteer for the WSPTA?

Ever since my state PTA presidency, I have been involved on various National PTA committees. The state presidents who followed me allowed me the privilege of continuing to serve at our state level with appointments to co-chair the Simple Majority Campaign, chair of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and now convention chair. Often I am asked why I still volunteer so much of my time with PTA for over 20 years. PTA is in my heart; it is a part of me. PTA changes the lives of children and youth. It creates lasting memories and provides opportunities for youth they might have otherwise missed. Why do I continue to volunteer for the WSPTA? Why wouldn't I?
 

Upcoming Award Deadlines


  • January 25 -- Gold Membership Award (recognizes PTAs with a 10% increase from the previous year’s membership enrolled)
  • March 1 -- Program Awards (Standards of Excellence, Honor Unit, Communication, Mentor-A-PTA Award, Outstanding Local Unit of the Year, Outstanding Newsletter, Outstanding Website, PTAs Taking Significant Action);  Applications are available on the website here
  • March 1  -- Leadership Academy Application; application here
  • March 1 -- Outreach Champion Award; application here
  • March 1 -- State PTA Outstanding Service Award; application here
  • March 1  -- 100% Membership Award; application here
  • March 1  -- PTA Men Essay Contest; application here
  • April 1  -- Statewide Awards (Outstanding Educator Award, Honorary Life Membership Award, Friend of Children Award); application here

Exhibit Prospectus for the 2014 WSPTA Convention


The Washington State PTA welcomes those interested in exhibiting at the WSPTA Annual Convention on April 25-27 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. To view the exhibit prospectus, click here.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Second Deadline for Membership Service Fees is January 25

All local units--both PTAs in a council and non-council units, send $8 per member (state and national membership service fees) to the State PTA office.  If your local unit is in a council with a per member fee structure you also need to submit a membership fee to your local PTA council. For more information on membership service fee remittance, click here.

Phone Forum: Good Governance Makes Sense for Exempt Organizations

Register now for this informative IRS presentation scheduled January 23, at 2 p.m. ET.

Topics include:
  • Why public trust is a charity’s greatest asset
  • The importance of having a knowledgeable and engaged governing board
  • Effective self-policing policies  
  • How to avoid conflicts of interest
  • The importance of implementing a code of ethics policy
  • Financial statements and Form 990 reporting
  • What you need to know about UBIT


Saturday, January 18, 2014

National PTA Launches Toolkit to Empower Schools and PTAs with Resources to Strengthen Family Engagement

As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen family engagement in education, National PTA® is pleased to announce the launch of a digital toolkit to empower parents, teachers and administrators with resources to help build family-school partnerships. The toolkit, available at PTA.org, is aimed at supporting PTAs and schools across the country in participating in PTA Take Your Family to School Week®.

Welcome New PTA!

The WSPTA welcomes Kent Special Education PTA 9.7.125 as a new local unit! We are pleased to have you join us as we work to make every child’s potential a reality.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Question of the Week

QUESTION:  
Some members of the board of our local unit suggested that the PTA set up a small emergency fund for families in need.  We could have store gift cards, gas cards, and phone cards on hand to give to parents for emergency items, with the school counselor responsible for distributing the assistance.  Is this something a PTA can do?

ANSWER:   
Yes, but there’s a couple of steps you’ll need to take before proceeding.  Obviously providing assistance for people in need is a charitable purpose within the broad scope of permissible activities of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, but you’ll need to check your unit’s Form 1023 or 1024, the form that was filed with the IRS to obtain your unit’s tax-exempt status.  That document outlined specifically what activities your local unit was planning to undertake, and if the emergency relief fund wasn’t one of the items listed, you will need to update the form. The WSPTA office can assist with that process if you need help. 

Second, you’ll need to amend the PTA’s budget to make provision for this new activity.  Third, I’d recommend that the board adopt some parameters to give to the school counselor about how the assistance is to be provided, and a process in which the counselor reports back regarding how the assistance was distributed (omitting recipients’ names and other identifying information).  Not only will this provide accountability for the use of the PTA funds, it will enable you to tell your community about another way in which you are serving the community.

School District Levy & Bond Elections

Many school districts will be running Levy and Bond elections on February 11, 2014.  Local levies can make up nearly one quarter of the funds needed to deliver educational services to students.  In each school district running a levy or bond election, there is a citizen’s group running the election campaign.  School districts are not allowed to run the campaigns.  The citizen’s groups are made up of parents, teachers and community members who support a “yes” vote on the ballot measures.  Your PTA may consider an endorsement vote on the levy and bond measures.  For more information on taking positions, please consult the Campaign & Elections Guidelines resources on our website:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What is Common Core?

A section on the Washington State PTA website provides parents with information and resources to help them understand Common Core. For information on this topic, click here.

Court Orders Legislature to Speed up Funding For McCleary Mandates

On behalf of Washington school children, the State Supreme Court took another important step this week to hold legislators accountable and for the State to show quicker progress in dramatically increasing K-12 public education funding to meet the mandates of the McCleary decision. On Thursday, the Court ordered the State to report by April 30 on a phase-in plan for adding billions of dollars to K-12 funding by 2018 to finally rectify years of unconstitutional underfunding. Read about this week's court order. We greatly appreciate the courage and commitment of the Court in this process.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Smart From the Start Grants Available

National PTA is currently accepting applications for its Smart from the Start: Community Outreach grant. Ten grants of $10,000 will be given to PTA Regions, Districts and Councils to educate families of children ages 3-5 and partner with a local neighborhood community to improve awareness of energy balance. Apply online by March 28.

Register for the webinar to learn more about the specific grant requirements, online application process, and existing resources available:
PTAs that participate in one of these informational webinars will receive 5 points toward their total application score.