Policies Help Govern Our Purpose
Basic policies govern the activities of all PTA’s.
These policies ensure a unity of purpose through the members’ commitment to the Purposes of the PTA and help protect the association and its members from exploitation. In addition, National PTA and Florida PTA are tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). As such, they maintain strict adherence to its requirements in order to retain that exemption.
Noncommercial, Nonsectarian and Nonpartisan
The PTA is a noncommercial, nonsectarian and nonpartisan organization. These basic policies must be part of every PTA’s bylaws:
Noncommercial – All PTA bylaws, whether unit, council, state or national, require the association to be noncommercial. This noncommercial policy also means that the name “PTA” – which is a registered service mark – or the names of its officers shall not be used in conjunction with the commercial activities of other organizations including, but not limited to, the promotion of their goods and services. This policy should be applied with judgment, discretion and common sense, recognizing that it is not meant to prohibit all contact or cooperation with such groups. Before accepting donations of goods or services, a PTA organization, at any level, should consider whether such acceptance might be construed as an endorsement of the provider.
Nonsectarian – The National PTA and its unit, council and States PTAs welcome into membership people representing a diversity of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs. Creed, color, race and economic status are irrelevant to qualification for membership. PTA should be hospitable to all – supporting no one religion over another and according each faith equal respect and consideration. The Purposes of the PTA acknowledge the importance of spiritual faith in the development of children and youth.
As a private association, PTA has the right to offer inspirational messages to open or close its meetings; however, such messages by PTA leaders should be inspirational rather than sectarian, recognizing that in this pluralistic nation, not all members share the same beliefs. Poetry, quotations from great men and women, uplifting anecdotes, and moments of quiet meditation can serve to focus concern for and dedication to improving the lives of children and youth. PTA leaders should be aware of their school district’s policy regarding celebration of religious holidays and should work closely with school administrators to observe whatever guidelines have been established.
Nonpartisan – Any use of the Florida PTA name for legislative or electoral activity requires prior authorization from the Florida PTA. No activity engaged in by any unit or council PTA should suggest or imply the support of the National PTA or Florida PTA.
One of the Purposes of the PTA is “to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.” It is by educating its members – and, through them, the general public – on the impact of issues affecting children and youth, that PTAs can best influence the course of action of those who make policy decisions, thereby achieving the Purposes of the PTA. PTA units may be involved in legislative activities by supporting or opposing local issues that affect children or services to children in their respective communities, and unit and council PTAs are encouraged to promote adopted Florida PTA positions and may be requested to actively support them. While unit and council PTAs are not required to work actively for any position, they should not officially oppose a stand taken by the Florida PTA Board of Directors. Unit and council PTAs need not vote to affirm a Florida PTA position in order to take action. Expressed membership disapproval of a position on legislation should be communicated to the Florida PTA Board of Directors through regular channels, with a report of the extent of – and reasons for the disapproval.
To retain tax-exempt status and continue to receive tax-deductible contributions, those PTAs that are recognized as being tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) may not (1) devote more than an insubstantial part of their activities to influence legislation (generally interpreted as not exceeding five percent of total expenditures); (2) participate in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for national, state, or local public office. A unit’s failure to comply with these restrictions may endanger council, State and National PTAs IRC 501(c)(3) status. Legislative activities must not exceed the limitations placed upon the Florida PTA and its units under the federal tax laws. In order to ensure that the limitations are not exceeded, records should be kept with respect to the amount of time, money, and volunteer activity such efforts involve. PTA must never support or oppose political parties or candidates, including those running for school boards on nonpartisan slates. However, PTA may adopt a position expressing its support for or opposition to issues dealing with the health, safety, education or general well-being of children and youth, but only to the extent permissible with respect to the requirements of each PTAs tax-exempt status. Nothing in the law or in PTA bylaws prohibits members as individuals from exercising their civic responsibilities in personal and partisan ways, including running for offices themselves.
Diversity and Inclusion Policy
“The National Congress of Mothers, irrespective of creed, color or condition, stands for all parenthood, childhood, homehood.” Alice McLellan Birney, 1898 Cofounder of National PTA
Those words, true in 1898, are even truer today.
PTAs everywhere must understand and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals, appreciating that each contributes a diversity of views, experiences, cultural heritage/traditions, skills/abilities, values and preferences.
When PTAs respect differences yet acknowledge shared commonalities uniting their communities, and then develop meaningful priorities based upon their knowledge, they genuinely represent their communities. When PTAs represent their communities, they gain strength and effectiveness through increased volunteer and resource support.
The recognition of diversity within organizations is valuing differences and similarities in people through actions and accountability.
These differences and similarities include age, ethnicity, language and culture, economic status,