A PA/PTA’s bylaws have two functions: formally establishing a school’s PA/PTA and detailing how it operates and is governed. A PA/PTA’s bylaws must contain, at a minimum, certain requirements contained in CR A-660.
Bylaws serve as a PA/PTA’s governance handbook and, aside from the Certificate of Incorporation (in the case of an incorporated PA/PTA), are a PA/PTA’s most important governing document. Bylaws describe the roles of the PA/PTA’s members, directors, officers and committees, contain the rules and procedures for conducting meetings and operations, and often include other provisions necessary for your PA/PTA to function and make decisions as an organization. All PA/PTAs must have bylaws that comply with the requirements of CR A-660.
In new schools and schools where the bylaws cannot be located, creating the PA/PTA bylaws must be the first order of business after the election of the mandatory officers. When drafting your PA/PTA’s bylaws, the best place to start is the DOE’s PA/PTA Bylaws Template, which is available in a number of languages on the DOE website. Your bylaws need not be limited to the provisions in the template — many PA/PTAs craft their bylaws to address the work and nature of their particular organizations. However, according to CR A-660, certain parts of the template must be followed.
PA/PTA bylaws must include the following*:
- The organization’s name
- A statement of objectives
- Qualifications for membership
- The list of officers, including duties and term limits (if any)
- The composition of the executive board, a mechanism for setting the day and time of meetings, and quorum
- The day and time of general membership meetings, and a mechanism for calling special membership meetings
- Any standing committees and their duties
- The responsibilities of parent representatives on the SLT
- Processes by which financial affairs will be conducted
- A process for amending the bylaws
The following processes must be outlined in the bylaws:
- Formation of Nominating Committee for the annual (spring) elections
- Solicitation of nominations
- Verification of eligibility
- Voting on contested and uncontested offices
- Certification of elections
- Whether officer vacancies may be filled by succession and, if so, in what order
- Elections, including expedited elections
PA/PTA bylaws must:
- be adopted by a vote of the parent members.
- include a mechanism for removing officers for negligence.
- set forth a budget process (the process must meet the minimum requirements contained in DOE’s PA/PTA Bylaws Template).
- contain a process for executive boards to authorize emergency expenditures.
- define permissible out-of-pocket expenditures and the maximum dollar amount for which a member may be reimbursed.
- establish a process for counting, securing and depositing funds received, as well as a procedure for documenting all financial transactions.
- indicate at last three officers to be signatories on PA/PTA checks.
- be reviewed, and if necessary amended, every three years, and whenever CR A-660 is revised [CR A-660 was revised in January 2017 so PA/PTAs should have reviewed and revised their bylaws accordingly].
- be readopted by a vote of the membership after the review, regardless of whether it was amended; the title page must show the date of adoption and signatures of the PA/PTA president and recording secretary.
- be made available in the languages parents speak other than English whenever possible.
- address the extent to which members may participate in discussions at executive board meetings.
- specify who will chair meetings in the absence of the president.
- allow persons who do not meet the definition of “parent” to participate in
PA/PTA activities, but they may not vote, or serve as officers or committee chairs.
- provide for the participation of certain categories of persons not otherwise qualified for membership, such as caretakers and noncustodial family members, provided they are not permitted to serve as PA/PTA officers or committee chairs, or to vote.
- allow for co-officers, and set the voting rights for them.
- set term limits.
- allow for the election of non-mandatory officer positions (e.g., vice president) in the fall in order to include incoming parents. The bylaws must identify the reserved positions and the timeframe and process for the election.
Any PA/PTA member may present a motion at a general membership meeting to amend a provision of the bylaws that is not in compliance with CR A-660. These amendments must be voted on immediately after the motion is presented and require the approval by two-thirds of the members present. To amend the bylaws for reasons other than compliance with the regulation, the PA/PTA must adhere to the provision for doing so contained in its bylaws. The DOE’s PA/PTA Bylaws Template suggests that bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the parent association by a two-thirds vote of the members present, provided the amendment was presented in writing to the membership at the previous meeting, and appears in the notice of the meeting at which it is to be amended.
The bylaws and related amendments must be kept for at least six years.** An original, signed version of the bylaws must be kept on school premises. A copy must go to the principal, with a current version available in his or her office, and a copy must be made available at every PA/PTA meeting and to the members upon reasonable request.***
Be sure to read through your bylaws carefully before beginning to operate and remember to follow them when conducting PA/PTA activities. If you have any questions or concerns about the procedures laid out in your bylaws, contact your Presidents' Council or Family Leadership Coordinator.