Who can join the PTA?
All parents/guardians and teachers of PS/MS 278 children are automatically members of the PTA. The Principal participates in most Executive Board meetings and General Meetings and spends a lot of time collaborating with the PTA leadership team, but technically the Principal, Assistant Principal and Supervisors can’t be members of the PTA.
What is the PTA’s function?
The PTA is responsible for setting its own goals and objectives and for planning the activities to meet them.
PS/MS 278’s continued success requires resources and support beyond those supplied by the Department of Education alone. The financial support and volunteer time that our community contributes to PS/MS 278 demonstrate that many parents share our school’s vision and want to supply the help needed to achieve it.
To that end, the PTA’s primary organizational focus is to help parents help the school. That’s a broad mission, but in reality it boils down to two points of focus:
- Help members of our community get connected to the news, views and each other. Our community is better able to collaborate when families know one another, are well informed, and share a common sense of purpose.
- Help raise and assemble the right resources. Resources come in many forms, and PS/MS 278 needs all of them. Parents can volunteer to help the community raise money and/or pool their many and varied skills, talents and time to help make each goal for the school a reality.
Who runs the PTA?
The simple answer is that the PTA is an organization for our community, run by our community. PTA activities are coordinated largely by PS/MS 278 parents.
The PTA Executive Board helps run and manage the many details of the organization. The officer positions on the board are the only PTA roles that involve elections. Parents who would like to volunteer in this way simply nominate themselves or are entered as candidates by the Nominating Committee in the spring. Elections are in May, and take place during one of the regularly scheduled General Meetings. Parents elected in May serve from July 1st to June 31st.
While the PTA is ‘run by’ the Executive Board, in reality every parent is welcome to attend and participate fully in virtually all Executive Board Meetings. All decisions involves consultation and information-sharing with parents/guardians and teachers at the PTA General Meetings.
There are ample ways for every parent to discuss issues with the board members and to collaborate on big decisions, and everyone is encouraged to participate.
How is the Executive Board structured?
While there are up to nine people on the Executive Board, it is organized around five core jobs: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and Translating Secretary.
Parents can volunteer as an individual or partner with another parent to fill the role as a team of two, resulting in up to two Co-Presidents, two Vice-Presidents, two Co-Secretaries and two Co-Translating Secretaries. In this way, two people split each job, reducing the workload for any one volunteer. Due to check-signing responsibilities, the role of Treasurer must be filled by one individual.
What do the Co-Presidents do?
Officially, the Co-Presidents act as the executive officers of the organization, preside at all general meetings, and one of them countersigns all checks.
They keep the executive board on track with its mission, partnering effectively and productively with the Principal and staying focused on PS/MS 278 activities and needs throughout the school year. This in turn involves:
- Managing the PTA Calendar
- Organizing and conducting the monthly Board Meetings and General Meetings and providing a President’s Report at each General Meeting
- Working with the other members of the Board to oversee their functions
- Providing PTA Board representation to the School Leadership Team, which meets twice monthly
- Providing PTA Board representation to the District 06 PTA Presidents’ Council, which meets monthly
- During the summer, the main activities include setting the school-year calendar of events and meeting dates.
What do The Co-Vice Presidents do?
The Co-Vice Presidents assist the Co-Presidents, preside in their absence, countersign checks, help run many of the PTA events and do anything that needs to be done that doesn’t naturally belong to any of the other executive board roles.
What do the Co-Secretaries Do?
The Co-Secretaries keep accurate minutes of Executive Board and General Meetings, including records of the materials handed out, and keep an accurate list of the members.
These minutes are crucial to the Board in keeping track of their work throughout the school year, and allow PTA members who cannot attend meetings to stay informed. In addition, keeping an accurate and complete set of our minutes helps our school when it is evaluated each year by the NYC Department of Education, as the DOE checks the status of our minutes book.
What do the Co-Translating Secretaries do?
The Co-Translating Secretaries translate correspondence and notices for regular and special meetings and facilitate communication among all members of the PTA.
What does the Treasurer do?
The Treasurer has custody of all the PTA funds, works to keep an accurate record of receipts and expenditures and, together with a Co-President and Vice-President, signs all checks. Responsibilities include collecting monies and delivering them to the bank and giving monthly financial reports and recommendations to the membership.
The Treasurer also maintains the relationship with the PTA’s bank, Chase Bank, so that we are treated fairly and get the best prices for their services. All financial transactions, no matter how small need proper recording, and the status of the PTA’s income and expenses need monitoring against the planned budget. Bank statements need reconciling and all receipts and related information are kept on file.
Who can be on the Executive Board?
Any parent/guardian member of the PTA may run for a board position unless they are an employee of the school. There are no other special qualifications necessary for being a board member.
How do I nominate myself for one of these roles?
At the March General Meeting, the Nominating Committee helps to encourage nominees to step forward and runs the election process itself. (The Nominating Committee is elected to their posts by the members present at the February meeting. This committee is temporary and ceases to exist after the election.)
It is important to note that while it has become our practice, it is not required that our board positions be shared. Individuals can run for President, Vice-President, Secretary and Translating Secretary. However, if you want to share a position, you must nominate yourself along with a running mate as a single ticket. If you are interested in running with a partner but do not have one in mind, the Nominating Committee can help you find one.
Most important is that we end up with nominees for the Executive Board positions. Without parents stepping forward there is no election slate, and with no elected officials the PTA isn’t allowed to operate; that would be detrimental to the school and the children.
How does the election work?
Members who come to the General Meeting at which the elections take place are asked to vote, position by position, for the people who have been nominated. All nominees must be present.
There will be written ballots in the event that more than one person or pair is nominated for a position. If the election is uncontested, then the positions are confirmed with a yea or nay vote.
How is the PTA budget set and managed?
In the spring, the PTA Executive Board collaborates with the Principal to guide the allocation of resources and fundraising activities for the following year.
The board then presents the proposed budget to the PTA for approval.
How Do I Get Involved?
It’s easy. Nominate yourself for a board position, get involved with one of the committees or respond to requests for volunteers for particular projects.
If you want further information about any of the above, reach out to the board members.