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 the 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 the 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 PA/PTA Resource 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.