New York State Education Law §2590-h and Chancellor's Regulation A-660 require that every public school establish a PA/PTA. There may be only one PA/PTA per school, and if multiple schools are located in the same building, each must establish its own PA/PTA. According to CR A-660, it is the principal’s responsibility to begin the process of establishing a PA/PTA or re-establishing a PA/PTA that has ceased to function.*
The guides below for establishing and re-establishing PA/PTAs are based on the relevant sections of the regulation and DOE’s Overview of the Establishment and Reestablishment of PA/PTAs.
Establishing a New PA/PTA
Step 1: The principal convenes a meeting with parents
- The principal must notify the parents of the meeting by means that will reach all parents (e.g., backpack, postal mail, email).
- Parents must be notified at least 10 calendar days prior to the meeting.
- The meeting must be held no later than September 30.
Click here to access DOE’s sample letter from the principal to the parents calling for the first meeting to establish a new PA/PTA.
Step 2: Meeting #1
- According to CR A-660, at least 8 parents should be present at the meeting to establish a PA/PTA.
- Create bylaws. (See the Bylaws page.) Schools should use the PA/PTA Bylaws Template available on DOE website’s Parent Leadership – PA/PTA Resources page.
- DOE suggests that, if possible, meeting facilitators should request a laptop, projector and screen so they can “drop” agreed upon information into the fields and create a draft of the bylaws for approval during the second meeting.
Step 3: Meeting #2
- At least 8 parents should be present at this meeting. (CR A-660 is vague here, but the presumption is that this meeting would require the same number of parents as the first.)
- Members must vote on and adopt the draft bylaws. The school should distribute copies of the bylaws proposals to be considered.
- Expedited elections must be held. (See the Elections page.)
Re-establishing a PA/PTA
If a PA/PTA ceases to function* the principal is required to notify FACE and convene a meeting of the parents to re-establish the PA/PTA.
Step 1: The principal convenes a meeting.
- If the PA/PTA stops functioning during the school year, the meeting to re-establish it must be held no more than 14 calendar days after the PA/PTA ceases to function.
- If the PA/PTA ceases to function over the summer, the meeting must be held no later than September 30. (In this case, the school should send a meeting notice home with students on the first day of school.)
- The principal must notify the parents, in writing, of the meeting at least 10 calendar days prior to the meeting.
Step 2: Meeting
- At least 8 parents should be present at the meeting.
- An expedited election must be held. (See the Elections page.)
First Steps Once Established
Once a PA/PTA is established, it must take the following steps before conducting business:
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.**
- Open a PA/PTA checking account. (If you have difficulty doing so, contact FACE for assistance.)
- Obtain a locked location for storing PA/PTA records. (The school is required to provide such a location.)
Your PA/PTA may also apply for federal and state tax exemption at this point. Many PA/PTAs choose to wait until they’ve incorporated (see tax exemption pages in the Not-for-Profit & Tax Exempt Status section) to apply for any tax exempt status, but others prefer to obtain New York State sales tax exemption — so they can purchase items for the PA/PTA without having to pay sales tax — immediately. For information on applying for federal tax exempt status as an unincorporated organization, call the IRS at (800) 829-3676. For information on exemption from New York state sales tax for unincorporated associations, see Form ST-119.2-1 on NYS Department of Taxation and Finance’s website.
If your school currently does not have a functioning PA/PTA, notify the principal. If this does not lead to the establishment of a PA/PTA, contact FACE, your Family Leadership Coordinator, or the appropriate Presidents’ Council.
*A PA/PTA ceases to function if:
- it has not held elections or fails to elect at least one mandatory officer -- president, recording secretary, or treasurer -- by the last day of school
- it fails to hold a timely expedited election to fill a vacancy in one or more of the mandatory offices. (See Section I.D.10 of CR A-660 for scenarios requiring expedited elections.)
- for vacancies that exist at the opening of the school year, a PA/PTA ceases to function if an expedited election has not taken place by October 15
- for vacancies that occur during the school year, a PA/PTA ceases to function if an expedited election has not taken place within 60 calendar days from the resignation or removal of the officer
- if all three mandatory offices are vacant and not can be filled by succession
- it fails to conduct PA/PTA business (executive board or general membership meetings) for 60 consecutive days during the school year.
**An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to an entity for identification purposes. Organizations are required to obtain EINs for a number of reasons, including having employees, opening bank accounts, and obtaining 501(c)(3) status. CR A-660 requires PTAs to open a checking account upon establishment, and therefore, to obtain an EIN. To apply for an EIN, you must complete and file IRS Form SS-4, and there are various ways to do so, including mailing or faxing the form to the IRS. The IRS allows applications by phone, and offers a toll-free number: (800) 829-4933; if possible, have a copy of the form (which is available online at CT-247 or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-3676) on hand while speaking with the IRS representative. You also may apply online, a free service offered by the IRS. Both the phone call and the online application must come from an officer of the PA/PTA, or a third party designee appointed by an officer. For more information about EINs, see IRS Publication 1635, Understanding Your EIN.