PA/PTAs must hold a number of different types of meetings in order to carry out their business. To a large extent, PA/PTA affairs are managed and discussed through a combination of meetings of the general membership, executive board meetings and committee meetings.
Schools are required to support PA/PTA meetings in a number of ways. According to CR A-660, PTAs are entitled to free use of school buildings, including school safety or security coverage, for 110 hours per year outside of school hours. (These hours must be used within a single year and are not transferable.) PA/PTAs are also entitled to post meeting notices in the school — in a place designated by the principal — as well as on the school website. In addition, PA/PTA executive boards may seek assistance from the school’s parent coordinator and the appropriate Presidents’ Council to improve meeting attendance. Under no circumstances, though, may the principal or parent coordinator chair a PA/PTA meeting.
General Membership Meetings
General membership meetings have two main purposes: to inform membership and encourage involvement. PA/PTAs must hold at least 9 monthly general membership meetings per school year. These meetings, which are open to all PA/PTA members, are where plans for PA/PTA activities are discussed and approved, elections are held, budgets are voted on, and issues of concern to parents can be raised.
How many members must be present at these meetings?
The quorum* for a general membership meeting depends on your bylaws, but must consist of at least 8 members of the PA/PTA, including a minimum of 2 executive board members and 6 parent members. In the absence of a quorum, the PTA cannot authorize expenditures of funds or vote on any business, but may have general discussions. Under exceptional circumstances, the PA/PTA may seek a waiver from FACE of the minimum quorum requirement.
How does the executive board notify parents of the meetings?
Adequate notice of meetings is important to afford all members a meaningful opportunity to attend, and the regulations requires at least 10 days' notice. The PA/PTA executive board is responsible for ensuring that meeting notifications are sent in a manner designed to reach all parents, and multiple means of communication may be necessary. The DOE website contains a meeting notice template on its PA/PTA Resources page which includes text in several different languages.
What should happen at these meetings and how do we run them?
According to CR A-660, specific information must be conveyed to the membership at these meetings — including plans for fundraising activities and all planned expenditures (both of which must be approved by the membership). The board should also present a written treasurer’s report. For this reason, preparing an agenda is crucial. The executive board should decide what information it needs to convey -- as well as what it needs to obtain from the general membership, such as a vote on the proposed budget or an amendment to the bylaws -- and create an agenda that will dictate the flow of the meeting. Some PA/PTAs find it helpful to include the agenda on the meeting notice to inform parents ahead of time of what topics will be discussed. (For a sample general membership meeting agenda, see the link below.)
The president should chair general membership and executive board meetings, and the PA/PTAs bylaws must specify who will chair a meeting in the president's absence.
The principal and parent coordinator are not allowed to chair any PA/PTA meeting.
The proceedings of every general membership meeting must be recorded in minutes**, and a draft of the minutes must be distributed at the next meeting for review and approval by the membership. Minutes serve as important records of your PA/PTA’s discussions and decisions. Your PA/PTA’s bylaws may specify permissible recording procedures.
The Chancellor's regulation also dictates that unless your bylaws state otherwise, meetings must be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order – Newly Revised. (Robert’s Rules of Order is a book first published in 1876, which has become the most widely used set of rules for parliamentary procedure in the United States.) Keep in mind, also, that CR A-660 requires that general membership meetings be held at the school.
Special Membership Meetings
Special membership meetings are meetings of the whole membership that are convened when an urgent issue arises that must be addressed before the next regularly scheduled general membership meeting. Special meetings should follow the same procedures as regularly scheduled meetings, except that they may be convened upon 48 hours’ notice.
Executive Board Meetings
Executive board meetings are meetings of the members of the PA/PTA’s executive board. However, CR A-660 requires that these meetings be open to all PA/PTA members who would like to attend. (Individuals who are not members of the PA/PTA may attend executive board meetings only with the approval of the executive board.) Your PA/PTA bylaws should specify the day and time of executive board meetings and the quorum required to conduct business.
Generally, the more detailed planning of PA/PTA activities and budgeting occurs at the executive board meetings. According to the regulation, at a minimum, a written treasurer’s report must be presented at every executive board meeting. In addition, it requires that the principal meet with the executive board at least quarterly, facilitating communication between the PA/PTA and the school administration regarding school goals and curriculum as well as coordination of activities. While minutes are required for general membership meetings, they are not required for executive board (or other committee) meetings, although regular updates must be provided to the membership.
CR A-660 also requires that executive board meetings be held at the school.
In addition, the executive board must hold a transfer of records meeting after the election of new officers. See the Board Transition page for information on this meeting.
See the Committees page.
*Definition of quorum:
According to Robert’s Rules of Order, a quorum is the minimum number of voting members who must be present at a properly called meeting in order to conduct business in the name of the group.
**Definition of minutes, from Robert’s Rules of Order:
The record of the proceedings of a deliberative assembly is usually called the Minutes, or the Record, or the Journal. The essentials of the record are as follows: (a) the kind of meeting, “regular” (or stated) or “special,” or “adjourned regular” or “adjourned special”; (b) name of the assembly; (c) date of meeting and place, when it is not always the same; (d) the fact of the presence of the regular chairman and secretary, or in their absence the names of their substitutes, (e) whether the minutes of the previous meeting were approved, or their reading dispensed with, the dates of the meetings being given when it is customary to occasionally transact business at other than the regular business meetings; (f) all the main motions (except such as were withdrawn) and points of order and appeals, whether sustained or lost, and all other motions that were not lost or withdrawn; (g) and usually the hours of meeting and adjournment, when the meeting is solely for business. Generally the name is recorded of the member who introduced a main motion, but not of the seconder. (Robert’s Rules of Order contains additional guidance on minutes.)